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Currents reach deep for seafloor larvae

Surface waters circulate more than a mile down

Whirling ocean currents whipped up by the wind can reach hydrothermal vents more than a mile deep and transport intrepid bottom dwellers to distant realms, oceanographers report in the April 29 Science.

In late 2005 or early 2006, an underwater eruption decimated several vents south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, along a deep ocean ridge, the East Pacific Rise (SN Online: 2/26/10). Baby limpets recolonized the area — a species that normally lives at another vent system more than 300 kilometers away.

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