Saturday December 05, 2015
Complex Creatures Thrive Deep Underground
Over the last several years, researchers have discovered that the Earth's biosphere extends deeper underground than had ever been thought. In fractures in rock, many kilometres underground, microbial life has been found to flourish, making a living by taking chemical energy from rocks and even oil.
Now, a new study by a team, including Dr. Barbara Sherwood-Lollar, a geochemist in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, has found that even more complex organisms can survive, sealed up deep underground. They found nematode worms and other multicellular organisms in a South African gold mine, more than 1.4 km deep.
The organisms had been carried deep into the Earth in water that percolated underground through cracks and fissures, more that ten thousand years ago, and had survived ever since, sealed up in the deep Earth.
Video from borehole and fissure exploration reveals microbial biofilms