Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have released details of a deep-sea site roughly 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Del Mar (just north of San Diego, Calif.) where methane is seeping out of the seafloor, the first such finding in the region. See video here.
Scripps graduate students on a 2012 UC Ship Funds Program expedition aboard Scripps’s research vessel Melville off San Diego County discovered the “Del Mar Seep” during the San Diego Coastal Expedition. Such methane seeps are fascinating environments because of their extraordinary chemical features, at times with bubbling methane streams, and often inhabited by odd and uniquely adapted creatures.
In 2013 the researchers returned to the site, at 1,020 meters (3,346 feet) depth, with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collect samples that would allow them to compare the site to previously studied methane seeps. The team has issued results of a detailed characterization of the Del Mar Seep ecosystem in the August 2015 issue of the journal Marine Ecology.
Related Video: Inside the Del Mar Seep