"A new understanding of marine geology has led to the discovery of hundreds of these unexpected ore bodies, known as massive sulfides because of their sulfurous nature. These finds are fueling a gold rush as nations, companies and entrepreneurs race to stake claims to the sulfide-rich areas, which dot the volcanic springs of the frigid seabed. The prospectors -- motivated by dwindling resources on land as well as record prices for gold and other metals -- are busy hauling up samples and assessing deposits valued at trillions of dollars. [...] Skeptics once likened mining the deep to looking for riches on the moon. No more. Progress in marine geology, predictions of metal shortages in the decades ahead and improving access to the abyss are combining to make it real. Environmentalists have expressed growing alarm..."
11 July 2012
Mining Deep Seabeds ~ Gold Rush in the Abyss
NYTimes Science section spotlights A Gold Rush in the Abyss...