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Scientists spy sixth undersea-vent ecology

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1:55pm, September 12, 2001

A group of deep-sea hydrothermal vents recently discovered in the Indian Ocean is populated by thriving communities of organisms, most of which have never previously been seen.

The vent systems lie about 1,600 kilometers east of Madagascar, an area far from the five previously known hydrothermal regions, which are in other oceans. The Indian Ocean vents support ecosystems of crustaceans, mussels, and anemones (top); large snails (bottom, images from videotape); and sulfur-metabolizing bacteria.

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