Saturday, June 30, 2007

Researchers found the clearest ocean waters

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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.

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.

Tedetti returned having found "unequivocally" the clearest ocean waters on the planet. "Some bodies of freshwater are equally clear, but only the purest freshwater," Tedetti told New Scientist. "For instance, researchers have found equivalent measurements in Lake Vanda in Antarctica, which is under ice, and is really extremely pure."

Source : NewScientist




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