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Explore the underwater universe around us and call this adventure a flag

Explore the underwater universe around us and call this adventure a flag

The universe is within us. We are made of stardust. We are a way for the universe to know itself

I was eight years old when I heard these words from Carl Sagan. I was instantly hooked and knew I wanted to become a scientist to understand how the universe and our planet work. This curiosity accompanied me in my training and motivated me to deal with the basic topics of the language of science.

UNAM College of Engineering has welcomed me with its buildings, laboratories, teachers, friends and unforgettable moments. The time I spent at UNAM gave me the foundation to go to places where exciting discoveries are being made; The deep sea is one of them: it seems to be within our reach, but it is more difficult to explore than to explore the moon.

I never imagined that I would develop research exploring extreme environments thousands of meters below the surface, in hydrothermal systems giving rise to entire ecosystems. At least 285 hydrothermal systems have been found in the world, in places called plate boundaries, where lithospheric tectonic plates tend to diverge, converge, or
slide each other. Given that approximately 25% of Earth’s heat is lost due to hydrothermal circulation through the oceanic crust, it is clear that regions of active vents around mid-ocean ridges are critical points that control the long-term rate at which these processes occur.

Since their discovery in 1970, hydrothermal vents and other geothermal systems under the sea have been studied in more detail using high-resolution instruments, providing new clues about the factors that control fluid transport in the lithosphere and discharge from the sea floor. The evolution of measuring instruments is remarkable and ranges from the first heat-flow investigations to the range of instruments used by the most sophisticated teams to study the deep sea.

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My scientific work has focused on the study of hydrothermal systems and thermal anomalies detected in the Gulf of California, as they are typical cases of underground plumbing analysis of these systems, using heat flow measurements, local temperature, chemical data, and seismic studies. Give us an “ultrasound” of the Earth’s interior. Our goal is to solve the geothermal system components that feed hydrothermal vent fields and understand how they work to calculate the geothermal potential of these systems in the Gulf of California and their potential impact as new sources of renewable, clean and sustainable energy.

Finally, I take the opportunity to tell all those who have echoed in my story that somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be discovered and you can be a part of it. UNAM, through student support, research and outreach programs, makes science accessible to all. As a UNAM graduate, I join the Foundation’s efforts to motivate the new generations of scholars that our country needs so much.

Researcher from Mexico (Professor CONASET) in the Department of Geology, Department of Earth Sciences, CICESE