By Joanita Nonwo – EMTV Online
Solwara 1: Bismarch Sea, Papua New Guinea
• The interests in mining the deep sea bed off the north-eastern waters of Papua New Guinea was made as far back as the 1980s.
• The copper and gold found in PNG waters are worth to be in a much higher grade than the ones found on land.
• Solwara 1 project site sits on the seafloor at a water depth of about 1600 meters.
• Minerals are formed from the hydrothermal vents.
• Scientists first discovered hydrothermal vents in 1977 while exploring an oceanic spreading ridge near the Galapagos Islands.
• Hydrothermal vents are very rare to be found.
• Total darkness, toxic chemicals, and extreme water pressure is found in hydrothermal environments.
• Despite the fact that hydrothermal vent environment is too toxic for life, surprisingly scientists found the area to be teeming with very rare marine biodiversity – large numbers of organisms that had never been seen before.
• The biological communities in those areas depend upon chemical processes that result from the interaction of seawater and hot magma associated with underwater volcanoes.
• On average, the areas were found to have more than 10, 000 known forms of life.
• Seawater in hydrothermal vents may reach temperatures of over 700° Fahrenheit (340⁰C).
• Hot seawater in hydrothermal vents does not boil because of the extreme pressure at the depths where the vents are formed.