Saturday, 16 August 2008

Found: The clearest ocean waters on Earth - earth - 29 June 2007 - New Scientist Environment

  • NewScientist.com news service


  • Tedetti says the ocean waters, which the researchers sampled using these canisters, were Tedetti says the ocean waters, which the researchers sampled using these canisters, were "almost violet" (Image: Jos├ęphine Ras)Enlarge Satellite images reveal the chlorophyll-poor patch of water in the south-east Pacific (in purple) (Image: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, ORBIMAGE)Enlarge
    As clear as the clearest lakes on the planet, salty as ocean waters, and roughly the size of the Mediterranean – this, say researchers, is the clearest and most lifeless patch of ocean in the world. And it is in the middle of the Pacific.
    "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 (see image, right).
    In October 2004, Raimbault and colleagues set out to study the remarkable patch of ocean water on a three month cruise – called BIOSOPE – that left from Tahiti in French Polynesia, passed by Easter Island and ended on the Chilean coast. Along the way, they sampled the water's chemistry, physics and biology.
    Marc Tedetti, also from the University of the Mediterranean, was on the expedition to investigate the water's clarity. He was struck by the colour of the water, which he describes as closer to violet than to blue (see image, right).
    Found: The clearest ocean waters on Earth - earth - 29 June 2007 - New Scientist Environment

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