From glaciated peaks in the Andes Mountains to virgin swaths of Tasmanian rainforest, humans have carved up the Earth’s surface in search of minerals and metals. Now, with little land left to exploit and an ever-growing demand, mining companies are shifting their sights toward a new frontier: the smoldering crust of the ocean floor.

(Online-only story published in August 2105. Read the full article on the Hakai Magazine website)