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No. 50: Mar-Apr 1987

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Strange Patterns In Another Oceanic Habitat

The sea-floor vents and their unique assemblages of animals are just beginning to be explored.

"Perhaps the most intriguing biological mystery in the vent area, however, was the finding of thousands of highly symmetric, Chinese-checkerboard-like patterns on the seafloor, which were first photographed several years ago. [P.] Rona thinks the patterns may be either an animal itself or the burrows made by an animal. He says the patterns are 'dead ringers for a 70million-year-old...trace fossil that is exposed in the Alps."

(Weisburd, Stefi; "Hydrothermal Discoveries from the Deep," Science News, 130:389, 1986.)

Checkerboard patterns spotted on seafloors Thousands of such checkerboard patterns have been spotted on the seafloors.

From Science Frontiers #50, MAR-APR 1987. � 1987-2000 William R. Corliss