In this Sept. 2016 photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a dragonfish that was found off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island is shown. Federal researchers just returned from an expedition to study the biodiversity and mechanisms of an unusually rich deep-sea ecosystem off the coast of Hawaii. (NOAA via AP)

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Mining The Deep Sea Could Prevent Scientists from Understanding It

There are precious resources in deep-sea nodules, but mining them could have an incredible impact on biodiversity.

The deep sea is shrouded in scientific mystery, but that is not stopping countries and corporations from trying to mine it for resources, according to National Geographic. Deep sea nodules contain everything from iron to cobalt to rare-earth minerals, and countries like Japan and Papua New Guinea as well as a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin are already exploring the possibilities of deep-sea mining.

The consequences of such mining could be vast, and are largely unknown. Mining would mean impacting life forms in the deep-sea before they’ve even been discovered or studied by humans.

Not only would mining impact the extraordinary biodiversity of the deep-sea floor, but it could also affect the way to ocean regulates climate.

“You can’t say [mining]’s enivonmentally benign,” University of Hawaii oceanographer Craig Smith told National Geographic. “Society may decide it’s an acceptable impact given the tradeoffs, but it’s not benign.”

Read the full story at National Geographic