Fire Under the Sea

Through a special arrangement with the publisher, William Morrow, Oregon Sea Grant is pleased to make available a popular book about contemporary ocean research at a great discount. Totally unknown before 1977, seafloor hot springs occur in numerous places along the globe-encircling chain of underwater mountains known as the midocean ridge. The exploration of these springs in manned submersibles has resulted in an extraordinary range of discoveries about our planet and the life on it. "Fire Under the Sea" focuses on these discoveries, which concern the complex relationships between the inner heat of the earth and the ocean that swirls about it, the search for the mechanism of gold formation, the adaptations of life under extreme conditions, and ultimately the origin of life itself. Through a series of vivid portraits of scientists at work, author Joe Cone shows how the remarkable discoveries at the hot springs result from major developments in twentieth-century science and technology. In particular, the fundamental discovery of the springs themselves is seen as an important outgrowth of the main insight of modern earth science: The surface of our planet is broken into a group of "plates" that are created at midocean ridges. During this slow creation of new earth, hot lava wells up at these ridges, the seafloor spreads apart, and hot springs arise. Hot springs research has developed rapidly since the early 1980s. While covering developments in the field broadly, Cone concentrates on the work conducted at the seafloor springs along the northwest coast of the U.S. He brings the reader into the laboratories where research equipment is designed and experiments are run, on board ships and submersibles exploring the sea, and into the discussions, debates, and testing of ideas that are the lifeblood of science. To complement the story, eight pages of color photographs portray a journey to the seafloor. Joe Cone. 1991. 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, 285 pages. Hardback.

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