An international team of scientists has discovered under the earth a vast ecosystem of microorganisms, twice as large as the world’s oceans. Despite the intense heat, lack of light, limited nutrient medium and strong pressure, there live from 15 billion to 23 billion tons of microorganisms.
Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory believe that the diversity of the underworld is comparable to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands.
“This is the same as finding a completely new reservoir of life on Earth, ” Karen Lloyd, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville , quotes The Guardian . – We are constantly discovering new types of life. So much life is inside the Earth, and not on its surface.
Samples were obtained by a team of scientists from wells more than 5 km deep and from underwater drilling sites. As a result, scientists have concluded that 70% of bacteria and archaea live in the bowels of the planet.
One of the organisms found at a depth of 2.5 km does not rely on energy from the sun at all. Instead, he learned how to generate methane in a low-energy environment; he uses it not to reproduce or divide, but to repair damaged parts. Some organisms can exist for thousands of years in a state of stasis, while remaining metabolically active. The researchers suggest that in the future they can find organisms that can survive even at temperatures of more than 122 degrees Celsius, which is currently a record.
Scientists note that the discovery was made possible thanks to tools that allow you to dive deeper into the bowels of the earth, as well as through improvements in microscopes that allow you to detect life at the smallest level.