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June 2023

Gombessa Expeditions - The Fire Under The Sea

Beneath the tranquil surface of the Mediterranean Sea lies a realm of fiery intrigue—a world where geology and volcanism converge to sculpt the landscape and shape the destiny of marine life. Join Laurent Ballesta and his intrepid team on an extraordinary journey into "The Fire Under the Sea," a recent expedition that delves into the depths of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago nestled north of Sicily, Italy.

This scientific odyssey embarks on a dual mission: to unravel the mysteries of underwater volcanic activity and to unveil the resilience of marine ecosystems thriving in these extreme conditions. Against a backdrop of smoldering peaks and billowing plumes, the team sets sail towards Stromboli, an active volcano renowned for its relentless eruptions.

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Diving into the azure depths of La Sciara, the area where Stromboli meets the sea, Ballesta and his companions encounter a landscape marked by the passage of time—a tapestry of recent lava flows, intermediate zones, and untouched sanctuaries. Each niche harbors its own unique ecosystem, showcasing the remarkable adaptability of life amidst volcanic chaos.

Venturing further to the tranquil shores of Panarea, the team unveils the hidden secrets of this seemingly serene island. Beneath its placid surface lies a realm teeming with hydrothermal activity, where natural jacuzzis bubble with columns of CO2 and sulfurous gases. Amidst this surreal landscape, Ballesta and his team seize the opportunity to study the ocean's acidification and its profound impact on marine life.

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Descending into the abyss, they navigate fault lines that give birth to hundreds of hydrothermal chimneys, reminiscent of an alien landscape where only the most resilient species survive. As they explore the depths, they uncover obsidian—a relic of the Neolithic era, bearing witness to the enduring relationship between humanity and the fiery forces that shape our world.

From the fiery slopes of Stromboli to the tranquil shores of Lipari, "The Fire Under the Sea" offers a glimpse into a world of perpetual transformation—a testament to the power of nature and the resilience of life in the face of adversity. Through their exploration, Ballesta and his team illuminate the hidden wonders that lie beneath the waves, inspiring awe and wonder in the hearts of all who dare to venture into the fiery depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

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“There is something even more impressive than the destructive power of the volcano, namely how underwater life rebuilds itself...”


The movies

Gombessa Expeditions – The Fire under the Sea - Episode 1
Gombessa Expeditions – The Fire under the Sea - Episode 2
Gombessa Expeditions – The Fire under the Sea - Episode 3
Gombessa Expeditions – The Fire under the Sea - Episode 4
Gombessa Expeditions – The Fire under the Sea - Episode 5