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Microbial life can survive up to C F and at extreme pressure and depths, miles beneath the ocean floor where the pressure is hundreds of times greater than at sea level new records are continually set as scientists discover organisms enduring ever more extreme conditions. Every time a life-sustaining boundary is breached here on Earth, new possibilities open up for discovering life on other planets. Tons and tons, literally.

Researchers from the Deep Carbon Observatory have calculated the collective mass of deep life at 15 to 23 billion tonnes, to times greater than that of all humans on the surface. Live Stream information currently unavailable.

Deep groundwater may generate surface streams on Mars

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About KQED. Copy Link. A nematode commonly called a worm in a mat of microorganisms. This creature was found nearly a mile below the Earth's surface in a gold mine in South Africa.

Gaetan Borgonie. Play-Button-Solid Listen 4 min. Danielle Venton. The DCO estimates that the amount of carbon underneath the surface is hundreds of times more than all the carbon in humans.


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  • This is simply fascinating and will surely foster enthusiasm to look for the biotic-abiotic fringe on Earth and elsewhere. During the course of their studies, scientists drilled more than 1.

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    The biosphere they've uncovered is thought to be twice the volume of all the oceans. This living world in the rock underneath our world consists of three types of life: two microbes that dominate the underground world — archaea microbes with no membrane-bound nucleus and eukarya microbes or multicellular organisms with cells that contain a nucleus as well as membrane-bound structures within a cell — and bacteria.

    Scientists report millions of distinct types of life there, most as-yet discovered or named. This new world underneath the surface may even be more diverse than life on Earth.

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    Yet these microbes are nothing like life on Earth. Many have life cycles measured in geologic terms. The implications of these findings is wide-ranging. The colder it got the denser the water would be, and eventually that water would become dense enough to sink, and become deep water.

    Now lets add in evaporation. Imagine that water was continually evaporated from our surface current. This would make it saltier, which would increase the density. Eventually, the density would increase enough for the water to sink and become deep water. This is exactly what happens in the North Atlantic. But, if deep water forms in one place, then surface water has to form somewhere else; we can't push water into the deep ocean without something coming back to the surface, and in fact, surface water forms in various places in the ocean.

    Look at the image above, and then back at the figure at the top of page 1 of this lesson. On page 1, the arrows are red for surface currents and blue for deep currents. The colors are a bit hard for me to see, but note that in the North Atlantic, a surface current flows north and a deep current flows south. This means that deep water forms in the North Atlantic.