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Under-sea floor life forms survive in water beyond boiling point

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And microbial life down there at 1,180 metres below the sea floor is just as rich as on the surface:

“Water boils on the (Earth’s) surface at 100 degrees Celsius, and we found organisms living in sediments at 120 degrees Celsius,” said URI Professor of Oceanography Arthur Spivack, who led the geochemistry efforts of the 2016 expedition organized by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Germany’s MARUM-Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen. The study was carried out as part of the work of Expedition 370 of the International Ocean Discovery Program…

The news follows an announcement in October that microbial diversity below the seafloor is as rich as on Earth’s surface. Researchers on that project from the Japan marine-earth science group, Bremen University, the University of Hyogo, University of Kochi and University of Rhode Island, discovered 40,000 different types of microorganisms from core samples from 40 sites around the globe…

According to the study, sediments that lie deep below the ocean floor are harsh habitats. Temperature and pressure steadily increase with depth, while the energy supply becomes increasingly scarce. It has only been known for about 30 years that, in spite of these conditions, microorganisms do inhabit the seabed at depths of several kilometers. The deep biosphere is still not well understood, and this brings up fundamental questions: Where are the limits of life, and what factors determine them? To study how high temperatures affect life in the low-energy deep biosphere over the long-term, extensive deep-sea drilling is necessary.

University of Rhode Island, “Researchers discover life in deep ocean sediments at or above water’s boiling point” at ScienceDaily

Paper. (paywall)

The researchers hope their work broadens hope for life on exoplanets.

Some other life forms that live happily in very hot water:

See also: So fine tuning of the universe for life goes right down to the level of the atom? Our universe seems fine-tuned for life to come into existence, as Michael Denton stresses. If so, life may indeed inhabit other planets. If people believe that there is intelligent life on other planets in the galaxy, the best theory to support it, absent evidence at present, is intelligent design.

4 Replies to “Under-sea floor life forms survive in water beyond boiling point

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This raises a couple of questions. Do these bacteria also thrive in hot springs on land? If so they’d be easier to find and study.

    Also, what about boiling water for human use on stoves? If these heat-loving bacteria got into the water supply from a hot spring, pasteurization would have the opposite effect.

    In places like Iceland that use hot springs for heating and water supply, is this a problem?

  2. 2

    Polistra,
    of course there are archae in hot springs, that’s where they were discovered. But to get to 120C you need a lot of pressure, more than a hot spring can provide. My colleague collected an organism from the rainbow vent mid-ocean ridge that lives at 130C. He grows it in an autoclave. But he cant get the 5S or 15S sequence needed to dna characterize it, because the usual reagents fail. So he hasn’t published it for 20 years.
    I asked about the danger of infection with something that doesn’t sterilize.
    He laughed and said if my temperature was 120C and my blood was full of sulfur, he’d know that I wasn’t located in a hospital.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Okay, that makes sense. I didn’t catch the emphasis on ABOVE boiling point for these particular organisms.

  4. 4
    ScuzzaMan says:

    I’ve been reliably informed that warm soapy water kills them all.

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