Oceans and seas cover over 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Approximately 55 percent of these waters harbor deep ocean basins that contain mineral resources such as gold, silver, copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc, lead, and barium. These areas, known as the “deep-sea,” can reach depths of over 1,000 meters.
Until the middle of the twentieth century, scientists believed that life was almost impossible in this eternally dark and extremely cold environment. However, probes in the 1970s revealed hydrothermal vents that provide nutrients and energy for an abundance of life. In recent years, over 500 previously unknown species have been discovered in deep-sea areas, some of which are of major interest to medical science.