A team of marine experts from the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) launched an expedition into the uncharted undersea waters of Greece. The scientists used a manned Thetis submersible to dive into the 450-meter-deep crater of an undersea volcano, named the Columbo Bank, off the Cycladic island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea.
Using state-of the-art technology, like the TETHYS-Gemini hybrid mass spectrometer, the HCMR team of scientists hoped to find new forms of life (micro-organisms and bacteria) capable to survive in the crater's closed eco-system. The ultra-modern technology aboard the Thetis submersible enabled the HCMR scientists for the first time to make visual observation of the never-before-seen deep-sea environment as well as to collect marine samples.
After their one-week expedition to the undersea crater, the HCMR team, headed by Vangelis Papathanassiou, went on to study the geotectonic features under the seas of Greece, like the Amorgos fault line.