Alien Deep With Bob Ballard Factsheet: It's Alive

Video highlights from Alien Deep With Bob Ballard

Dr. Ballard believes that all life possibly began deep in the ocean, where “chimneys” in water are superheated by magma, and diverse chemicals mix together.

The Target: Hydrothermal Vents

•    Dr. Ballard believes that all life possibly began deep in the ocean, where “chimneys” in water are superheated by magma, and diverse chemicals mix together.
•    Gaps in the crust of the earth where plates separate are likely sites.
•    Life forms, from bacteria, to crabs, snails, and clams, cluster around these warm, nutrient-rich sites in inhospitable parts of the sea.
•    Mid-ocean ridges, where continental plates spread, volcanoes erupt, and mountains rise thousands of metres below the water, are homes of some “chimneys”.

The Journey: to the Mid-Ocean Ridges

•    Dr. Ballard is coordinating global research in search of chimneys and the primitive life they support.
•    British, Irish, and Icelandic research crews scour the sea floor and discover chimneys in diverse and unforgiving waters near Iceland, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos Islands.
•    State of the art technology needed to map and image thousands of metres below the sea.
•    Exploration culminates when Dr. Ballard visits the Island of Surtsey, in Iceland.
•    Surtsey Island: In 1963, magma broke through the surface of ocean. Since then, the island has increased in size and shifted from a moon-like rock to a greening place with a budding ecosystem.

Conclusion
•    Places like Surtsey tell the story of life.
•    Violent forces and volcanic activity have constructed our world.
•    Violent as these forces are, they’ve left open the window for an even greater miracle: life.
 

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