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Vast, zombie-like microbial life lurks beneath seabed

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posted on Dec, 10 2018 @ 11:03 PM
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Scientists have drilled a mile and a half (2.5 kilometers) beneath the seabed and found vast underground forests of "deep life," including microbes that persist for thousands, maybe millions of years, researchers said Monday. Feeding on nothing but the energy from rocks, and existing in a slow-motion, even zombie-like state, previously unknown forms of life are abundant beneath the Earth despite extreme temperatures and pressure. About 70 percent of Earth's bacteria and archaea -- single-celled organisms with no nucleus -- live underground, according to the latest findings of an international collaboration involving hundreds of experts, known as the Deep Carbon Observatory, were released at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Washington. This "deep life" amounts to between 15 and 23 billion tons of carbon, said the DCO, launched in 2009, as it nears the end of its 10-year mission to reveal Earth's inner secrets. "The deep biosphere of Earth is massive," said Rick Colwell, who teaches astrobiology and oceanography at Oregon State University. He described the team's findings so far as a "very exciting, extreme ecosystem." Among them may be Earth's hottest living creature, Geogemma barossii, a single-celled organism found in hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. Its microscopic cells grow and replicate at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 Celsius). "There is genetic diversity of life below the surface that is at least equal to but perhaps exceeds that which is at the surface and we don't know much about it," Colwell said. - 'Distinct' from surface life - Similar types of strange, deep life microbes might be found on the subsurface of other planets, like Mars.


Vast, zombie-like microbial life lurks beneath seabed

There is way more life on planet Earth than we see. The amount and diversity of the life that is living off the energy of our Sun now looks to be smaller than the life on Earth that is not using the Sun as an energy source.

Man has been aware that there are underground ecosystems not using the Sun as energy for many year but the size of the underground ecosystems now look to be huge.

The news story makes a point that this kind of life could be living underground on other planets like Mars and that could be very true. I am very on the fence about life on Mars. Life could be there right in front of the rover. Mars may also be very dead.

One indicator to me Mars is dead is the weight of the planet Mars compared to it's size. Mars is less dense than Earth and the weight that is missing may be the weight of life.




posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 07:10 AM
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Great post!

My first thought was the Leviathan from "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. The giant pyramidal shaped single celled organism, aeons old, that lives at the bottom of the ocean.

Funny how fiction often mimics or predicts even the strangest aspects of reality.



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

Very creepy and cool at the same time!
Just what I want to read before work.



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 08:50 AM
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How the heck did life get down there? Its 1.5 miles down but where does it start? Is there a barrier of no life and then after you get down to a mile or so, life starts again?



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 11:49 AM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

Wonderful, head blowing news! It's like a back-up plan is built in to perpetuate life. We could go boom in nuclear Armageddon and be struck by asteroids and LIFE will bubble up and start over.

Imagining how we're all sitting above a biomass equal to the surface and oceans is mind blowing. Double the biomass!!!



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: 3n19m470


*The deep biosphere constitutes a world that can be viewed as a sort of "subterranean Galapagos" and includes members of all three domains of life: bacteria and archaea (microbes with no membrane-bound nucleus), and eukarya (microbes or multicellular organisms with cells that contain a nucleus as well as membrane-bound organelles)

*Two types of microbes—bacteria and archaea—dominate Deep Earth. Among them are millions of distinct types, most yet to be discovered or characterized. This so-called microbial "dark matter" dramatically expands our perspective on the tree of life. Deep Life scientists say about 70% of Earth's bacteria and archaea live in the subsurface.

phys.org - Life in deep Earth totals 15 to 23 billion tons of carbon—hundreds of times more than humans.

It has just always been there! They "live a life" where being consists of converting energy (whatever various chemicals or energies are around); some of them do not "grow" or reproduce! (Which was drilled into us as school children is one of the definitions of life. But since the 70's, they have been discovering extreme examples of life so I think the definitions opened a bit).

They are as much a part of the earth as we are!

The lurkers in the dark. Or, He who sleeps!!



Makes me wonder why we go around thinking we are the dominant species on this planet where there are so many other things around us?


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Shakespeare
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posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 10:23 PM
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How the heck did life get down there? Its 1.5 miles down but where does it start? Is there a barrier of no life and then after you get down to a mile or so, life starts again?


I think it has to do with the energy supply the ecosystems are using. The right type and amount of minerals, gasses or other energy sources used instead of the Sun are mostly deep underground.



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 10:30 PM
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It has just always been there! They "live a life" where being consists of converting energy (whatever various chemicals or energies are around); some of them do not "grow" or reproduce! (Which was drilled into us as school children is one of the definitions of life. But since the 70's, they have been discovering extreme examples of life so I think the definitions opened a bit). They are as much a part of the earth as we are! The lurkers in the dark. Or, He who sleeps!! Makes me wonder why we go around thinking we are the dominant species on this planet where there are so many other things around us?


Great points and link, thanks. Makes you wonder if the whole Gaia theory (living Earth) might have some truth to it. Why couldn't an intelligent organism evolve in an underground ecosystem?



posted on Dec, 11 2018 @ 10:36 PM
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Wonderful, head blowing news! It's like a back-up plan is built in to perpetuate life. We could go boom in nuclear Armageddon and be struck by asteroids and LIFE will bubble up and start over.


Never thought of that but you sure are right! It would be very hard to destroy all life on this Earth because of this. Life not only finds a way, it has a plan



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