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Water temperatures at the hydrothermal vents can be as hot as 400° C.
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|NeMO has been established primarily for the purpose of gaining understanding of, and access to, the microbial biosphere which appears to underlie magmatically heated regions of the seafloor, including seafloor spreading centers. Locating the observatory within the caldera of a large submarine volcano (Axial Volcano), which is superimposed on the central portion of the Juan de Fuca spreading center, will maximize the probability of being able to gain insights into how magmatic heat sustains the biosphere. Following Axial's most recent eruption in January and February of 1998, fluids recovered from eruption-produced vents contained many previously unknown thermophilic and extremophilic bacteria. Such bacteria are widely regarded to be a potential new source for enzymes and other metabolic products that will eventually be found to have biotechnical and pharmaceutical uses.
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