Evidence Of Ancient Life Discovered In Mantle Rocks Deep Below The Seafloor
(Click to enlarge) These remarkable rocks are from the Earth’s upper mantle that underwent intense alteration by heated seawater. (Credit: Ocean Drilling Program)
Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen. This new evidence was contained in drilled rock samples of Earth’s mantle — thrust by tectonic forces to the seafloor during the Early Cretaceous period.
(From ScienceDaily) — The new study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery confirms a long-standing hypothesis that interactions between mantle rocks and seawater can create potential for life even in hard rocks deep below the ocean floor. The fossilized microbes are likely the same as those found at the active Lost City hydrothermal field, providing potentially important clues about the conditions that support ‘intraterrestrial’ life in rocks below the seafloor.
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