by Kip Evans,SEAlliance Director of Expeditions and Photography
Deep Worker (c) Kip Evans
In 1977, Alvin, the first untethered manned submersible, was used to confirm theories of seafloor spreading along the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Much to the amazement of scientists, the area was home to a thriving community of organisms living in extremely hot, sulfuric rich water. This discovery, along with hundreds of others, has made Alvin and other manned submersibles, one of the most valid oceanographic tools in the world.
During the past 30 years there has been a lot of debate about the need for using manned submersibles. After all, we have high-tech remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of probing the ocean depths without depositing a single person in the water.…