Deepest Traces Of Life On Earth Found

Posted: Apr 11 2017, 5:46am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Deepest Traces of Life on Earth Found
Samples of serpentine from an underwater mud volcano include organic material that seems to be waste from microbes living deep beneath the surface. Photo Credit: Oliver Plumper, Utrrecht University
  • The Lowest Depths of our Planet reveal the Signs of Life Forms

Apparently, the lowest depths of our planet reveal the signs of life forms.

There is a treasure trove of life forms six miles beneath the Mariana Trench. This has been taken to be a sign that life may exist in the depths of other planets of the solar system as well. On our own planet some four billion years ago, life was a difficult affair.

Asteroids often struck the surface of the planet and thus large parts of it consisted of molten rock. Since nutrients and living conditions were harsh, the question is: how was a microbe to survive?

Some of the earliest life forms may have survived by living very deep beneath the surface of the earth. This could have been as much as six miles below the sea floor.

A novel study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows exactly this on a consistent basis. Microbes were alive in the deepest places that is in the underwater reservoir that is the Mariana Trench.

This area is part of a subduction zone and the Pacific tectonic plate slides beneath the Philippine Sea plate here. The seafloor is strewn with hydrothermal vents and muddy spouts. These let loose a volley of materials from inside the earth.

The researchers recently sampled mud rich in minerals from this particular region. Although microbes were not found, organic matter was detected.

This shows that life can survive in the most inhospitable of conditions. Also this lends a series of vital clues about the hidden biosphere of our planet. There may be more here than meets the eye.

A lot thus still needs to be understood about the earth. Since subduction zones are often cooler, some life forms may be able to survive there. This makes these microbes the deepest remnants of life on our planet.

Life is therefore not confined to a narrow limited temperature range. Some of the most inaccessible areas of the planet also harbor life forms, as this recent evidence from the Mariana Trench so clearly reveals.

An organic material which can be found in the context of the mineral serpentine is often used by microbes as a food source. This mineral was found in the depths beneath the Mariana Trench, according to NationalGeogrpahic.

This process is called serpentinization and it allows microbes to thrive on the nutrients it engenders. The team of experts think they may have found waste matter from gas-munching microbes.

Yet it is still to early to say anything with surety. More research and exploration needs to be done to confirm the hypothesis that has been formed up until now.

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