A jagged landscape of towers stands out near the top of an underwater mountain, west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Its carbonate walls and columns appear ghostly blue, in the light of a remotely operated vehicle sent for exploration. Their heights range from small piles to a huge mass 60 meters high.
Scientists discovered the lost city’s hydrothermal field in 2000, at a depth of more than 700 meters (2,300 feet).
For at least 120,000 years, and perhaps longer, the upwelling mantle in this part of the world has interacted with seawater to spew hydrogen, methane and other dissolved gases into the ocean.
In the cracks in the field’s openings, hydrocarbons fuel new microbial communities even without the presence of oxygen.
The chimneys, which emit gases at a temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius, are home to an abundance of snails and crustaceans. Larger animals such as crabs, sea urchins and eels are rare but still present.
Despite the harsh nature of the environment, it appears to be teeming with life, and researchers believe it deserves our attention and protection.
While other hydrothermal fields may exist elsewhere in the world’s oceans, this is the only one that remotely operated vehicles have been able to find so far.
The hydrocarbons produced by the Lost City’s vents were formed not from atmospheric carbon dioxide or sunlight, but through chemical reactions on the deep sea floor.
Since hydrocarbons are the building blocks of life, this leaves open the possibility that life could have arisen in a habitat just like this, and not just on our planet.
Microbiologist William Brazelton said, referring to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter: “This is an example of some kind of ecosystem that could be active on Enceladus at this second. And perhaps Mars in the past.”
Unlike underwater volcanic vents called black smokers, which have also been named as a possible first habitat, the Lost City’s ecosystem does not depend on the heat of magma.
Black chimneys produce mostly iron- and sulfur-rich minerals, while Lost City chimneys produce up to 100 times more hydrogen and methane.
The calcite vents in the Lost City are also much larger than the black chimneys, indicating that they were active for a longer period.
Meanwhile, to the northeast of the tower is a rocky slope with short periods of activity. Researchers at the University of Washington describe the vents there as “weeping” with fluid to produce “clusters of tiny, multi-branched carbonate appendages.”
Scientists warn that any plumes or drainages caused by mining at the site could easily submerge the magnificent habitat.
Therefore, some experts are calling for the Lost City to be included as a World Heritage Site, to protect natural wonders before it is too late.
Find unique jewelry in “Northern Pompeii”
During excavations in the ancient city of Claterna, Italian archaeologists found unique jewelry, about 2,000 years old.
According to the report of the Italian Ministry of Culture, the city of Claterna is located in the area of the modern Italian municipality of Via Emilia. It is believed that it was founded in the second century BC and remained continuously inhabited until the collapse of the Roman Empire. Then the inhabitants suddenly abandoned it, so Italian archaeologists called it “Northern Pompeii”, in comparison with the southern city that was destroyed by the eruption of Volcano Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.
During the recent excavations underway in this ancient city, archaeologists found more than 3,000 Roman coins, most of them silver and bronze, including unique silver pieces dating back to the Republican era 97 years BC.
In addition to the coins, scientists found a large amount of precious stones with inscriptions dedicated to the Roman gods. According to researchers, these discoveries indicate that the city of Klaterna was a more important city than previously thought.
Lucia Borgonzoni, Italian Minister of State for Culture, says: “It has now become clear that this city was a major trading centre, with direct connections with Rome. Given the importance and number of objects discovered so far, it is likely that this is the ‘Northern Pompeii’.”
During the excavations, scientists also found valuable artifacts, including the remains of a courtyard, numerous statues, and the remains of baths, streets, and buildings decorated with mosaics and colored marble.
Scientists confirm that the largest part of the city has not yet been studied, as so far only about 18 hectares have been excavated, equivalent to a tenth of the area of the entire Roman city.
Pets slow down brain aging in older people
A study revealed that cognitive abilities decline in old age among pet owners. Degenerative processes among cat and dog owners also slow down significantly among those who walk with their animals.
Scientific Reports notes that the study results showed that pets can serve as sources of social support. Interacting with them can reduce indicators of stress, such as blood pressure, cortisol level, and heart rate.
A scientific team headed by Dr. Erica Friedman from the University of Pennsylvania has studied the relationship between pet ownership and changes in cognitive function in older adults. To determine whether the company of a pet slows cognitive decline, and whether there is a difference between owning cats and dogs and its effect on humans.
To do this, the researchers analyzed data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging, which began in 1958 and is considered the longest scientific study of human aging in the United States. The study included data from 637 participants aged 51 to 101 years (average age 75 years). Twenty-nine percent of participants owned pets, 11 percent had cats and 13 percent had dogs. Among dog owners, 69 percent reported walking their pets.
It became clear to the researchers that the decline in cognitive abilities was slower among those who owned pets compared to others who did not have these animals.
The researchers say: “The results revealed that the decline in cognitive abilities among owners of older pets was less with age, taking into account their health condition and age. And that the decline in the level of memory, executive function, language function, psychomotor speed, and processing speed over ten years among pet owners was “It was lower among pet owners compared to non-owners. And among dog owners compared to non-owners. Memory and speech function decreased less among cat owners. It also turned out that the decline in cognitive abilities decreased among people who walked with their dogs.”
Because of factories, the temperature of the atmosphere rises by two degrees in 100 years
The European monitoring service Copernicus reported that for the first time the temperature has risen by two degrees above what it was in the pre-Renaissance era (1850-1900).
Copernicus indicates that, according to researchers, October 2023 was the warmest month ever, with the average temperature reaching 15.4, which is 0.4 higher than the previous record recorded in 2019.
Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Program, explains that average global temperatures on November 17, 2023 were 2.07 degrees higher than the pre-industrial average. On November 18, it was 2.06 degrees higher. Thus, the average temperature exceeded two degrees. To limit global warming to at least two degrees above the pre-industrial level, most countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, which provides for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, as well as a number of other measures to combat global warming.
But the Center for Climate Research indicates that global warming is continuing, and according to it, the period from November 2022 to October 2023 was the hottest on record, as during these twelve months, average temperatures in 170 countries exceeded the standards of the past thirty years. Temperatures were below normal only in Iceland and Lesotho.
According to the expectations of the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures during the next five years will exceed previous records, with the contribution of the human factor – the emission of greenhouse gases and the change in the phases of ocean currents. For example, in the summer of 2023, the La Niña phenomenon (“the girl”) changed to the El Niño phenomenon (“the boy”). ). This affects temperature changes and rainfall as well. Because during a La Niña event, ocean water intensively absorbs atmospheric heat, and during an El Niño event, the ocean releases the trapped heat to the atmosphere.