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Pacific “Marine Desert” Discovered

Biosope_2004_trajet_360_2 Marine Biologists are claiming to have found the clearest ocean waters on the planet, in the middle of the Pacific, and it’s entirely lifeless.

"Satellite images that track the amount of chlorophyll in ocean waters suggested that this was one of the most life-poor systems on Earth," explains Patrick Raimbault of the University of the Mediterranean, in Marseille, France, describing the patch of water centered in the Pacific Ocean. Raimbault was part of the team who headed out on the 4 month study entitled BIOSOPE that left from Tahiti in French Polynesia, swung past Easter Island and finished up west of the Chilean coast.

Marc Tedetti, also from the University of the Mediterranean, described the waters as colored velvet and that they have “unequivocally” found the clearest ocean waters on earth. "Some bodies of freshwater are equally clear, but only the purest freshwater," Tedetti told New Scientist. "For instance, researchers have found equivalent measurements in Lake Vanda in Antarctica, which is under ice, and is really extremely pure."

The patch of ocean, which contains approximately 10 times less chlorophyll than most locations, is relatively cut off from the larger ocean body around it, subsequently causing the lack of nutrients in the water. There is no seasonal shift, no land run-off feeding it land based nutrients, and it is totally unaffected by the “global conveyor belt” which pushes water around the earth. And while nutrients can survive there, there is simply no way to naturally increase the levels, and thus breed life.

It’s the lack of seasonal shift and “conveyor” currents that affects this crystal oasis more than anything. The lack of seasonal shift means that, the warmth of the location prohibits the rise of nutrients from the bottom of the ocean to replenish its supply. But while there is no new introduction, through either seasonal shift or by means of the conveyor belt introducing new currents, the organisms that live there are able to survive.

Posted by Josh Hill

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