24 May 2024
by Alex Brinded

Deep-sea mining dust clouds could be visible from hundreds of kilometres

Some dust clouds created by deep-sea mining will stir up visible material for long distances, according to research in the Netherlands.

© Sarah Lee / Unsplash

A study from Utrecht University has shown that dust clouds from deep-sea mining will mostly descend at a short distance, but a small portion could have a major impact on deep-sea life.

While the international community is still discussing the conditions for mining from the bottom of the deep sea, silt that is stirred up when extracting manganese nodules, for example, is a major concern.

Clouding the water is said to have unknown effects.

PhD marine geologist Sabine Haalboom used different instruments to measure the amount and size of suspended particles in the water after dragging 500kg of steel chains across the bottom of the Clarion Clipperton Zone - a vast area in the Pacific Ocean.

Haalboom found that some of the stirred-up material was still visible hundreds of metres from the test site and metres above the bottom.

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Alex Brinded

Staff Writer