South of Svalbard between Norway and Greenland there is vigorous and active field of hydrothermal vents on the sea floor along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The field lies in Norwegian waters and is located at 73°33′N 8°09′Ø, about 300 km west of Bear Island and about 600km east of Jan Mayen Island and at a depth of about 2,350m. It was discovered in 2008 by researchers from the University of Bergen and has been called Loki’s Castle (Lokes slott in Norwegian).
Loki’s Castle on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
In 2008, University of Bergen researchers found metal deposits and unique wildlife in the environment created by the hydrothermal vents.
University of Bergen News
This summer a team led by the director of UiB’s Centre for Geobiology, Professor Rolf Birger Pedersen, discovered five new hydrothermal vents in Loki’s Castle. The vents were discovered at depths ranging from 100 to 2,500 metres. In this area, which is the most geological active part of Norway, a new volcanic seabed is formed at a rate of two centimetres a year.
… Norway is a volcanic country on par with Iceland. The difference being that whereas Iceland’s volcanoes are onshore, Norway’s volcano landscape is in the deep sea. Norway’s volcanoes are lined up underwater in large active earthquake zones, and there are hydrothermal vents churning out hot water – at 320 degrees Celsius – which gives rise to unique ecosystems and metal deposits on the seabed. ….
…. For the past ten years, researchers and students from the centre have explored this volcanic underwater world. Through their summer expeditions to the area, they have discovered new Norwegian nature every year. In this period they have surveyed hundreds of undersea volcanoes and a number of hydrothermal vents. Loki’s Castle (Lokeslottet), Soria Moria and Trollveggen are the names given to the hydrothermal vents discovered by the UiB researchers in 2005 and 2008. ..
They have found significant metal deposits that are formed around the hydrothermal vents in Loki’s Castle. The material value of these deposits remains unknown, but the mining industry is already showing a growing interest in exploiting these resources on the seabed. Deep-ocean mining could become a reality in the not too distant future. The distinctive wildlife in the deep seas, with the hydrothermal vents as oases of a unique genetic life, means that any industrial activity must be weighed against environmental concerns.
Based on their knowledge, the UiB researchers are thus proposing that deep-marine nature parks should be established as soon as possible. This is of particular importance for Norway, with vast deep-sea areas to manage. This management must be based on scientific knowledge.
Video of the undersea volcanoes.
“We have discovered five new vent fields in Norwegian national waters between Jan Mayen island and Loki’s Castle,” Rolf Pedersen, the professor leading the research, told The Local. ”The vent fields were discovered during a cruise with RV GO Sars in July this summer. …….
Pedersen made his name in 2008 when he discovered the underwater volcanic range Loki’s Castle. The new discovery comprises hundreds more volcanos, some just 20m below the surface.
“We have found volcanoes at such a shallow level and they could break the surface at any time and form a new island group,” Pedersen told VG newspaper. ”We have long known that Iceland has both volcanic activity and hot springs, but we thought that we did not have anything like that in Norway. But we do, it was only under water.”
The scientists have already discovered some 50 new species on the site, which Olsen said could lead to new drugs being developed.
“There are biological species which haven’t been discovered before that live in extremely harsh environments. This brings the potential to discover new molecules that we haven’t been aware of which could be used in the development of drugs.”
In Norse mythology Loki was one of the jǫtnar, a mythological race, and a god.
Loki is the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari. And by the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of amare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in the Prose Edda.
Loki’s relation with the gods varies by source. Loki sometimes assists the gods and sometimes causes problems for them. Loki is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, mare, seal, a fly, and possibly an elderly woman. Loki’s positive relations with the gods end with his role in engineering the death of the god Baldr. Loki is eventually bound by the gods with the entrails of one of his sons.