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Bacteria Creates Giant Underwater Ring In Santa Barbara Channel

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(UC Santa Barbara image)
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Undersea bacteria forms giant white underwater ring in the depths of the Santa Barbara Channel, some 66 miles in circumference

Imagine you have a ring around your bathtub made up of bacteria. That doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it?

Well, researchers say they’ve discovered a giant underwater, 60 mile plus ring around part of the Santa Barbara Channel made up of giant bacteria. But, they say this bacteria is just a normal part of nature.

UC Santa Barbara oceanographer David Valentine says they were using a robotic sub to explore hydrocarbon seeps in the Channel when they found a mile long band of white material on the ocean floor, more than a thousand feet below the surface.

They determined it was a type of giant ocean bacteria, large enough you can see it with the naked eye.  In the same way we need food and water, this bacteria survives on hydrogen sulfide and nitrate salts.

Similar bands have been observed in other parts of the world.  The bands shift over time, as the amount of hydrogen sulfide and nitrate salts in the ocean shifts.

Valentine and his research team announced their findings in the latest edition of the research journal Environmental Science and Technology.