Scientific estimates point to an amazing possibility: there might be an immense buried treasure in our planet’s seabed, a treasure that is worth more than $150 trillion worth of gold and other metals like cobalt or copper. Just to give you an idea, this remarkable sum is equivalent to 10 times the entire gross domestic product of the United States of America, estimated at almost $16 trillion.
And, now, we might be closer than we thought to find a part of this treasure, since an organization called Nautilus Minerals is preparing an enormous deep seabed prospecting operation, scheduled for 2014. This mining setup can find kilos of gold, but also other substances, such as manganese, nickel, copper and cobalt. However, there might be consequences that we aren’t ready to face, especially for the environment, which will be the potential main victim of this operation. Nautilus Minerals’ plan can go immensely wrong, since there’s a big possibility of a spill of oil and toxic ore or a leak of contaminated water into the ocean.
And that’s not even the main problem: in the worst case scenario, science loses the chance of studying unknown species that live in the deep sea. This area of our planet is, like scientists like to call it, “the cradle of life”, where many species that can’t be found anywhere else on earth live untouched by the human presence or action. For instance, in the last decade, scientists discovered 780 new species of crabs and 286 new types of shrimps in the bottom of the ocean, just to give you two important examples of what we might be missing. That being said, is it worth to scavenge the deep sea “just” to find gold? Maybe not, when there’s the possibility of ruining a special and unique habitat. Our infographic and make you find your own answer.