The Synergy Project: Immensity In Minuteness
Along the edges of tectonic plates on the seafloor, molten rock wells up to form fresh rock. Cold seawater seeps through cracks in the rock and is heated, driving chemical reactions that transform seawater into hot, mineral-rich fluids that billow like smoke from chimney-like mineral formations called hydrothermal vents. Although out of range of the sun’s rays, these areas are teeming with organisms that derive their energy from chemicals in the vented fluid. Jill McDermott and her colleagues investigate these chemical reactions, which may hold clues to the origin of life on our planet. Jill dives to great depths to observe the vents and is always struck by how little she can see by the light of the small submarine. What’s more, much of the chemistry takes place out of sight, in the “plumbing” of the vent systems. Bryan’s paintings provide an alternate lens for Jill to view her research, blending a detail-oriented analytical mindset with the relationship between the observer and the deepest frontiers. Bryan’s depictions are imbued with the spirit of discovery that drives scientists to explore links between hydrothermal vent fluids and life.
Provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution