Prony Bay Hydrothermal Vents Field Study uri icon

DCO ID 11121/1750-6523-6720-3337-CC


  • At the bottom of Prony Bay by New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean, lies a field of tall, rocky edifices called chimneys, which form from streams of warm, alkaline fluids that emerge from the seafloor. These chimneys, and the hydrothermal vent fluids that pour out of them, offer a window into the conditions that exist in recesses in the rocks deep beneath the ocean floor, and into the microbes that survive there, in circumstances that could be close to the habitat that supported the first cells on Earth.
  • The objectives of the cruise aboard RV Alis were to collect samples on autonomous dives to a few sites in the bay of Prony south of Grande Terre in New Caledonia, of water, gas, sediments, deposits, flora and fauna in order to characterize: 1. the physical-chemical context of low temperature alkaline hydrothermalism and the physical-chemical nature of deposits and fluids (dating, variation over time and estimating microorganisms re mineralization processes); 2. biology and microbiology associated with this alkaline hydrothermalism: analysis of species and functional diversity of microorganisms (bacteria, Archaea) using a molecular and culturing approach.

date/time interval

  • October 26, 2011 - November 13, 2011