Deep sea hydrothermal vents provide geothermal warmth to ocean water that doesn't get much warmth from the sun. These mineral-rich vents are like "the oases of the deepest ocean," and are thought to be places where many life forms -and maybe life itself- got its start.
A few weeks ago, a group of scientists on a National Oceanography Centre expedition in the Caribbean stumbled across this vent, the deepest ever found at 5,000 meters below the ocean's surface. Since then, the group has been plumbing the depths of the Beebe Vent Field with remotely-operated submersibles, taking pictures, discovering new species, and finding some unexpected surprises.
(Image credit: National Oceanography Centre)