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Dennis DrabelleLike the land of the Cimmerians in The Odyssey, Challenger Deep is a place the sun's rays never reach. For that matter, most of the world's water lies under the same shroud. "Light penetration and sunlight-driven photosynthesis are limited to the first several hundred meters of the water column," writes Cindy Lee Van Dover in The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents. Farther down, the superficial rules of life do not apply. It's a whole different world--and a vast one, whose marvels include what Ballard calls "the longest and largest mountain range on earth."
— Washington Post Book World