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Researchers marvel at world's deepest sea vents

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February 27, 2013 01:49 PM EST | AP


KINGSTON, Jamaica — Researchers using a remote-controlled submarine around the world's deepest known hydrothermal vents have been collecting samples from the sunless depths of the Caribbean Sea.

The expedition of Britain's National Oceanography Center is exploring areas where blazing hot, mineral-rich fluid gushes from volcanic chimneys on the seabed. The deepest areas are more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) below the sea's surface between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.

Chief scientist Jon Copley says he believes laboratory analysis in coming weeks will reveal some new life forms that have evolved in the remote areas. In a Wednesday email from a research boat, Copley said these include bristle worms, a sea anemone and some small crustaceans.

The team was hailed in 2010 for discovering the deepest known volcanic vent field in the Cayman Trough.