Mission to undersea volcano

A team of Greek marine experts began a mission yesterday that, with the help of state-of-the-art technology, could lead to them discovering new forms of life in the uncharted depths of the country’s waters, the mission head told Kathimerini. The team from the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) chose to begin its expedition by conducting the first-ever exploratory dive, with the manned «Thetis» submersible, into the 450-meter-deep crater of the undersea volcano off Santorini, also known as the Columbo Bank. The head of the mission, Vangelis Papathanassiou, told Kathimerini that scientists expect to discover new microorganisms and bacteria which live in the closed ecosystem of the volcanic crater. The team, which is due to finish its mission in a week, will also move on to research other points of interest in the Greek seas, such as the Amorgos fault line. Papathanassiou said that the strength of the mission is that experts will have visual contact with the deep sea environment while also being able to gather samples, rather than simply scanning the seabed with radar.

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