Scientists surveying the Cayman Trough in the Caribbean Sea have discovered the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents, or “black smokers,” the National Oceanography Center (NOC) in Southampton, UK, announced on 11 April. The vents were found at a depth of 5000 meters, about 800 meters deeper than any previously discovered.

Jon Copley, a marine biologist at the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, said, “Seeing the world's deepest black-smoker vents looming out of the darkness was awe-inspiring.” Geochemist Doug Connelly of NOC, principal scientist of the expedition, noted, “We hope our discovery will yield new insights into biogeochemically important elements in one of the most extreme naturally occurring environments on our planet.” Researchers used an NOC-developed Autosub6000 robot submarine, which was remotely controlled from the Royal Research Ship James Cook.