Sited along a volcanic ridge, the 2,000-foot-long Mothra Field is a hydrothermal vent 200 miles off the coast of Washington State. The fantastical landscape is more than a mile beneath the sea surface and home only to life that can withstand tremendous pressure, acidity, and heat. The foundation for this unusual ecosystem? Hot, mineral-rich water jetted from stone structures called black smokers, which are themselves formed by minerals in the water.
This photo shows a three-foot-high black smoker in an area dubbed the Faulty Towers Complex. Water spewing from the smoker reaches 600 degrees Fahrenheit.