Water/Hycean Worlds & Oceanography

Protecting The Lost City Hydrothermal Vent System

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Marine Policy
November 25, 2023
Filed under , , , ,
Protecting The Lost City Hydrothermal Vent System
A remotely operated vehicle shines a light on the spires of the Lost City. (D. Kelley/UW/URI-IAO/NOAA).

Lost City is a unique marine hydrothermal vent field in Area Beyond National Jurisdiction on the front line of deep-sea features that policy-makers should seek to protect.

The feature, located on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, is part of a priority area for a future International Seabed Authority Regional Environmental Management Plan. It is also recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity as being within an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area and has been mooted as a possible World Heritage site.

Together these policy strands present a strong rationale for protection but governance and policy uncertainties remain. The paper advocates a proactive and bold interpretation of UNCLOS in favour of strong protection.

Protecting the lost city hydrothermal vent system: All is not lost, or is it?, Marine Policy (2019) (open access)


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻