The Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a unique corner of the Pacific Ocean. This remarkable young sea is thought to be around five million years old and home to nearly 900 species of fish and the widest variety of whales and dolphins found anywhere on Earth. Some of the greatest changes threatening the world's oceans today can be seen in this stretch of water.
Hydrothermal vents, Bay of Conception
The shape and size of the Sea of Cortez is growing by 5cm each year as a giant fracture in the Earth's crust runs through it. This is a part of the San Andreas Fault. At the Bay of Conception this process can be witnessed first hand.
Hydrothermal vents are fissures that expel heated water and are evidence that the Earth's crust is being ripped apart. This activity is taking place at a depth of just 6m, usually it is found at far deeper depths.
|Importance:||The hydrothermal vents in the Bay of Conception are proof that the shape and size of the Sea of Cortez is changing.|
|Dive category:||Shallow dive, but still the preserve of specialist expeditions led by scientists and film crews.|
|Access:||Although these vents are relatively accessible starting at 6m, diving in hot temperatures is still a technical undertaking requiring a skilled team. The vents may also emit toxic chemicals so attempting to dive there is not recommended.|