New keys to understanding the evolution of life on Earth may be found in the microbes and minerals vented from below the ocean floor, say scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The UCSB scientists are making new contributions to this field of inquiry in their studies of seafloor hydrothermal fluid discharge into the Earths oceans, which has been occurring ever since the oceans first formed four billion years ago. Conditions below the sea floor may most closely mimic the environment when life began. "There is a great deal of interest in the microbes of the Earths crust because the strategies by which they survive may be similar to the earliest strategies of life on Earth, and perhaps also on other planetary bodies," said Rachel M. Haymon, UCSB professor of geology.
Newly discovered geological and biological manifestations of hydrothermal activity at two sites on the sea floor to the west of Central America are reported by Haymon, lead author, and three other UCSB geologists in the February issue of the journal, Geology.
Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
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