There’s a Subterranean Biosphere Hiding in the Earth’s Crust and It’s MASSIVE

There’s a Subterranean Biosphere Hiding in the Earth’s Crust and It’s MASSIVE

the earth an inscrutable blue green and white marble suspended in the vacuum of space and on its surface teeming with life you and me countless animals plants fungi and bacteria on the mountains plains rivers and oceans of our planet but something is lurking underneath our feet according to new research a whole other world this new world that is slowly being revealed to us is what scientists call the deep biosphere because it lies many metres below the earth's surface it's also sometimes called the dark biosphere just because we like to give you the shivers and because you know there's no light down there the deep carbon Observatory is a global community of over a thousand scientists who for the past 10 years have been exploring this subterranean world and what lives in it the latest press release from this research community as their 10-year long project comes to an end reveals just how startling the deep biosphere really is the team sampled life-forms found at mines and bore holes that had been drilled up to five kilometers below the earth's surface and up to 2.5 kilometres below the seafloor with hundreds of samples they were then able to model the size and makeup of the deep biosphere and it is huge the DCO estimates that the deep biosphere is probably made up of 2 to 2.3 billion cubic kilometers of living organisms which is almost twice the volume of all of the earth's oceans just let that sink in a little bit take the entire water volume of the Earth's oceans pour it into a container now double that container and fill that container to the brim with stuff that's alive most of it microscopic but the size isn't the only impressive thing about the deep biosphere it's also incredibly diverse with the scientist on the project calling it the subterranean Galapagus or likening it to the Amazon rainforest but we're not talking monsters like the kaiju from Pacific Rim or a Balrog Allah Lord of the Rings the deep biosphere is mostly made up of bacteria and another kind of single-celled organism called archaea millions of distinct types most of which we even never seen before we have no idea what they are but they're so plentiful and so distinct but scientists think that about 70 percent of all of the Earth's bacteria and archaea probably live in the deep biosphere again that is insane as of 2016 we estimate that there are around a trillion species of microbes on Earth and we think that 99.999% of them have yet to be discovered and according to this new deep biosphere research that trillion microbes that we haven't even been able to begin to classify that's only 30 percent of the Earth's bacteria the rest are underneath us some scientists even call all of this unclassified life microbial dark matter we know that it's there we just don't know what it is or how it works okay besides the fact that this is mind-blowingly awesome and kind of freaky why are these scientists dedicating 10 years of their life to this research why is it important well the kind of organisms that live in the deep biosphere are pretty different from those that live above the surface they have to be able to survive with no sunlight withstand massive pressures and extreme temperatures underneath the oceans or kilometres deep inside the earth some of them apparently have life cycles on geologic timescales meaning they reproduce and grow in time increments like eras and epochs rather than minutes or days they get their energy from vastly different materials than we're used to in some cases subsisting on nothing more than rock all of this is to say the deep biosphere is a world of extremes with the help of advanced deep ocean and continental drilling technologies and the increasing accuracy and availability of DNA sequencing exploring it will expand our understanding of our own world and its biodiversity hopefully investigating the deep unknown will help us answer the lingering questions that this environment poses did life start below the surface and migrated up or was it the other way around how does the deep biosphere interact with and influence the surface biosphere if at all but perhaps most intriguingly the deep carbon Observatory has showed us that we haven't yet discovered the limits for life on our planet the deeper we dig the more extreme environments we explore still they're flourishing and strange and if life here on earth can be so different from what we've imagined what might be waiting for us on other planets by familiarizing ourselves with the organisms of extremes here on earth we just might know a little bit more about what to look for when we go searching for life elsewhere fun fact the naturally occurring organism that holds the record for living at the hottest temperature is geo Gemma Barassi a single-celled organism that lives in hydrothermal vents on the sea floor and can grow and reproduce at 121 degrees Celsius for more on otherworldly life check out this video here and thanks for always coming back to seeker for your science news fix

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24 thoughts on “There’s a Subterranean Biosphere Hiding in the Earth’s Crust and It’s MASSIVE

  1. we'll figure out a way to make the dark biosphere face extinction like everything else on this planet.

  2. I give it 20-30 years, we'll find some resource we can exploit from this biosphere then maybe another 100 years and we'll have done irreparable damage to it

  3. Geez, this host is incredibly dull to listen too. She managed to take a really cool and fascinating subject and turn it really boring with her voice. Show some life like the giant deep biosphere.

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