HomeScienceLost City: The Enigmatic...

Lost City: The Enigmatic Underwater Wonder

Free Subscribtion

This article is a comprehensive exploration of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field, a unique and captivating ecosystem found deep beneath the ocean surface. Discover the awe-inspiring features, the diverse array of life, and the potential implications for our understanding of the origins of life itself.

The Lost City Hydrothermal Field, an extraordinary underwater marvel, has captivated scientists and researchers since its discovery in 2000. Located near an underwater mountain west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, this enigmatic ecosystem is unlike anything previously encountered on Earth. With its towering spires, creamy carbonate walls, and columns that shimmer with a ghostly blue hue, the Lost City is a testament to the enduring force of life in the most extreme environments.

A remotely operated vehicle shines a light on the spires of the Lost City.

The Longest-Lived Venting Environment

Deep beneath the ocean’s surface, the Lost City Hydrothermal Field thrives as the longest-lived venting environment known to mankind. For over 120,000 years, and potentially even longer, the upthrusting mantle in this part of the world has interacted with seawater, resulting in the release of hydrogen, methane, and other dissolved gases. This unique process has created a habitat that sustains an abundance of life, even in the absence of oxygen.

A Haven for Novel Microbial Communities

Within the cracks and crevices of the Lost City’s vents, hydrocarbons play a crucial role in nurturing novel microbial communities. These communities have adapted to thrive in this extreme environment, utilizing the hydrocarbons as a source of sustenance. Remarkably, these microbial communities flourish without the presence of oxygen, challenging our understanding of the limits of life on Earth.

An Abundance of Life

The Lost City Hydrothermal Field is home to a diverse array of organisms, from snails and crustaceans to larger animals such as crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, and eels. While larger creatures are relatively rare, their presence highlights the adaptability and resilience of life in this unique ecosystem. The chimneys of the Lost City spew gases as hot as 40 °C (104 °F), providing a hospitable environment for these remarkable organisms.

Implications for the Origins of Life

The Lost City’s hydrocarbons, which are the building blocks of life, raise intriguing questions about the origins of life not only on Earth but potentially on other celestial bodies as well. The hydrocarbons produced by the vents were not formed through the usual processes involving atmospheric carbon dioxide or sunlight. Instead, they originate from chemical reactions on the deep seafloor, suggesting the possibility of life arising in similar habitats beyond our planet.

- Advertisement -

Life Beyond Earth

Microbiologist William Brazelton speculates that ecosystems like the Lost City could exist on moons such as Enceladus or Europa, as well as in the past on Mars. The absence of dependence on magma heat sets the Lost City apart from underwater volcanic vents known as black smokers, which have also been considered as potential habitats for the origins of life. The unique composition and longevity of the Lost City’s chimneys make it an intriguing analog for potential extraterrestrial habitats.

The Urgency for Protection

Size of hydrothermal chimneys in the Lost City Hydrothermal Field

While the Lost City Hydrothermal Field stands as a testament to the resilience of life in extreme environments, it is not immune to the threats posed by human activities. In 2018, Poland was granted mining rights in the deep sea surrounding the Lost City. Although the thermal field itself does not contain precious resources, the destruction of its surroundings could have unintended consequences. Scientists and conservationists are calling for the Lost City to be designated as a World Heritage site to ensure its protection.

Protecting a Natural Wonder

The unique and fragile nature of the Lost City demands immediate action to safeguard it from potential harm. Any plumes or discharges resulting from mining activities could irreversibly damage this remarkable habitat. Designating the Lost City as a World Heritage site would provide the necessary legal framework and international cooperation to preserve this underwater wonder for future generations.


The Lost City Hydrothermal Field stands as a testament to the endurance and adaptability of life in the most extreme environments. Its towering spires and unique composition have fascinated scientists and researchers, offering insights into the origins of life on Earth and the potential for life beyond our planet. As we navigate the challenges of protecting this delicate ecosystem, let us remember the value of preserving and understanding the wonders that exist within our own oceans.


Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular News

ICBC Financial Services Hit by Ransomware Attack: What You Need to Know

In a major cybersecurity incident, the US arm of China's largest...

iPhone 15 is Scheduled to be Unveiled on September 12

company's annual iPhone special event. On September 12, Apple will take...

The Most Anticipated Films from Sundance Film Festival 2024

2024 Sundance Film Festival is a film festival event held from...


Read Now

Why China and Australia Are Reconciling: A New Era of Bilateral Relations

In recent years, the relationship between China and Australia has been strained, with tensions escalating due to various factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are now signs of a potential reconciliation and the beginning of a new era in bilateral relations. This article will explore the...

As Good as Porsche and Tesla: Xiaomi’s Ambitious Entry into the Electric Vehicle Market

The Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has made waves in the consumer electronics industry with its smartphones and home appliances. Now, the company is setting its sights on a new frontier: the electric vehicle market. With the recent unveiling of its first electric car, the SU7 sedan, Xiaomi...

Zoom Unveils Enhanced AI Features to Stay Ahead in the Videoconferencing Market

In an effort to maintain its competitive edge in the crowded videoconferencing market, Zoom has recently announced an expansion and rebranding of its AI-powered features. This move comes after the company faced controversy surrounding changes to its terms of service that hinted at the potential use of...

The Exorcist: Believer – A Terrifying Sequel Unleashed

The Exorcist: Believer is an upcoming supernatural horror film that has been generating immense anticipation among horror enthusiasts and fans of the original classic. Serving as a direct sequel to the iconic 1973 film, The Exorcist: Believer is set to terrify audiences once again with its chilling...

10 Top-Trending Health Questions of 2023 for Dr. Google

In 2023, people turned to Dr. Google to find answers to their burning health questions. From strep throat to cholesterol levels and bloating remedies, these top-trending inquiries shed light on the health concerns of the year. Let's take a closer look at the 10 most searched health...

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Claim Attacks on Israel: Escalating Tensions in the Middle East

Yemen's Houthi rebels have recently claimed responsibility for missile and drone attacks targeting Israel, adding a new dimension to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip. This development draws their main sponsor, Iran, closer into the conflict and raises concerns about the potential for a regional...

Unhappy or Anxious? How Your Sleep Habits Impact Your Wellbeing

In our fast-paced and demanding lives, getting enough sleep is often overlooked or undervalued. However, research has shown that sleep plays a crucial role in our overall wellbeing, affecting our mood, mental health, and ability to function optimally. In this article, we will delve into the relationship...

Apple’s Strategy to Boost Mac and iPad Sales: New Models and Upgrades

Apple is making strategic moves to reverse the decline in Mac and iPad sales by preparing to launch several new models and upgrades in early next year. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is focusing on updating the iPad Air, iPad Pro, and MacBook Air to entice...

A Rising Tension: The Philippines Dispute in the South China Sea

The South China Sea has become a hotbed of tension and geopolitical rivalry in recent years. One particular area of concern is the ongoing dispute between China and the Philippines over territorial claims in the region. This dispute has the potential to escalate into a larger conflict...

Prince Mateen of Brunei’s Extravagant 10-Day Wedding Celebration

Brunei's Prince Abdul Mateen, known for his dashing looks and social media presence, has recently tied the knot with his commoner fiancée, Anisha Rosnah. The couple's 10-day royal wedding extravaganza has captured the attention of people worldwide, as they celebrated their union in a series of opulent...

How Adobe’s AI Tools are Revolutionizing Creativity for Artists

‍Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a driving force in the world of creativity, and Adobe is at the forefront of this technological revolution. With the introduction of their AI-powered tools, Adobe is empowering Artists to explore new creative avenues and bring their unique ideas to life. In...

The Power of Google’s “About this Image” Tool: Verifying Image Origins Made Easy

In today's digital age, the spread of misinformation and inauthentic media has become a significant challenge. With the rise of generative AI, the creation of misleading or repurposed images has only escalated. Whether it's images taken out of context or attached to unreliable websites, the need for...

Global News