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By Brandon Specktor, Live Science
Life on Earth is taking billions of forms, but to see most of them, you must be deep below the surface dig the planet.
Over the last 1
In a statement that the Earth's deep biosphere is referred to as the "underground Galapagos" waiting to be explored, the DCO scientists estimate that the sheer biomass of carbon-based life under our feet estimates the amount Life that roams the earth's surface completely dwarfs. With about 17 to 25 billion tonnes of carbon (15 to 23 billion tonnes) below the surface of the planet, DCO researchers estimate that there are nearly 300 to 400 times more carbon biomass in the subsurface (most of which are undiscovered) ) the people on the earth.
"Even in dark and energetically challenging conditions, intraterrestrial ecosystems have uniquely evolved and existed over millions of years," says Fumio Inagaki, geomicrobiologist at the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology and DCO member. said in the statement. "Extending our knowledge of the deep life will provide new insights into the planet's habitability and help us understand why life has come down to our planet and whether life will continue on the subsurface of Mars and other celestial bodies."
The Earth's deep microbial life has already been explored, already driving the understanding of the conditions under which life can thrive. Researchers have drilled miles into the seabed and sampled the microbiome from mines and boreholes at hundreds of sites around the world. The data from these sites indicate that the deep biosphere of the world is about 2.3 million cubic kilometers – about twice the volume of all the world's oceans – and hosts about 70 percent of the planet's bacteria and single-celled archaea. 19659006] Some of these species are found in the hottest and deepest niches in the world. Pioneer for the hottest organism in the world, according to the unicellular Geogemma barossii. This microscopic, spherical life-form living in hydrothermal vents on the seabed grows and replicates at 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit), well above the boiling point of water at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).
Meanwhile the record for the so far best known life lies about 5 km below the continental underground and 10.5 km below the sea surface. Under this water, extreme pressure becomes an inevitable fact of life; At a depth of about 400 meters, the pressure is about 400 times higher than at sea level, the researchers wrote.
The expansion of knowledge about the limits of life on Earth could potentially give scientists new criteria for finding life on other planets. If there are millions of undiscovered organisms that grow, thrive, and evolve in the dark of the planet's crust, our research on biodiversity on Earth has so far only scratched the surface.
Originally published on Live Science
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