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Still Waters

How hot is too hot for life deep below seabed

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Still Waters

At what depth beneath the seabed does it become so hot that microbial life is no longer possible? This question is the focus of a close scientific cooperative effort between the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and MARUM—Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen. 

The sediments that lie deep below the ocean floor present a very harsh habitat. 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? Ambient temperature could well be an important factor. Thermophilic (heat-loving) microorganisms can exist quite comfortably at temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius.

https://phys.org/news/2020-12-hot-life-deep-ocean-floor.html

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