The sunlight zone (sea level to 200m) receives the most light and warmth, and is home to abundant marine life, ranging from microscopic phytoplankton, tiny plants that produce much of the oxygen we breathe, to the giant blue whale. This zone plays an important role in our ocean’s ‘biological pump’, sequestering carbon for thousands of years, buffering us from the worst impacts of the climate emergency.
Deep-sea minerals are sought by miners for use in battery technology at a time when the industry is moving away from these metals and a new generation of batteries that either reuse metals - or don’t use them at all - are entering the market.Find out more
As we go deeper into the twilight zone (200 - 1000m) atmospheric pressure increases, sunlight disappears, and the temperature drops. Nutrient rich waters teem with life, including jellyfish, octopuses, squid, and more fish by weight than the total amount caught globally each year. As well as potentially impacting globally important fisheries, deep-sea mining may also threaten other deep-diving oceanic species including whales.Find out more
The midnight zone (1000 - 4000m) is a world of darkness lit by bioluminescent creatures. Life here is highly adapted and animals have found unique ways to survive. Anglerfish use built in, glowing fishing rods to attract prey, lighting up the ocean for nearly 1km. If all nodule mining claims were mined in the Clarion Clipperton Zone, the area impacted would likely reach 350,000-800,000 km².Find out more
Down in the abyssal zone (4000 - 6000m) habitats range from hydrothermal vents to cold seeps and seamounts. This zone makes up over 80% of the ocean and covers 60% of the planet. Here we find hairy armed yeti crabs, tripod fish perched on the seafloor, bright yellow ‘gummy squirrels’, and casper octopuses. Vast amounts of carbon are also locked away in this zone.
The uncertain impacts deep-sea mining could have on carbon storage has led scientists and policy experts around the world to call for a pause on the industry.
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