Ocean

There is still life at 130 degrees Celsius?

An international team of researchers finds life at 130 degrees Celsius deep under the seabed. You want to know exactly at what temperature even the toughest micro organisms have no chance to survive.

life at 130 degrees Celsius
Holes in to a depth of almost 7,000 meters below sea level to clarify at what temperature, all life will be destroyed. Photo: Jamstec ( Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology)

At what temperatures and at what pressure is there still life? Archaee Methanopyrus kandleri, the previous record holder, found researchers in a 122 ° C hot environment in a water depth of 4,000 m. There is a pressure of nearly 400 bar, almost 200 times as much as in the tire of a car.

An international research team believes that there are still microorganisms capable to bid this record. To find out the absolute threshold of pain they want to penetrate to a depth of almost 7,000 meters below sea level. From the research ship Chikyu they bring deep Nankai ocean trench off the coast of Japan the hole in 4,700 m down.

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The world’s largest research vessel Chikyu: His mission this time is to analyze the temperature for micro-organisms is too high, to survive. Photo: Jamstec

Penetrate a 130°C temperature range. Actually, there is no more life can exist because high temperatures destroy the genes (DNA). This “Fact” has done to them. You want to figure out the exact temperature in which all life will be destroyed.

Can micro-organisms remain life at 130 degrees Celsius?

“Over the next 60 days, we have the unprecedented opportunity to find out something about what temperature for micro-organisms is too high, to survive,” says Verena Heuer, Deputy Chief Scientist of the expedition. This year’s geo scientist in Marum, the Centre for marine environmental sciences at the University of Bremen.

Underwater rock is most vividly

It is already known that there is life in rock pores below the seabed and that is not too close. “We know that the microbial biomass under the seabed is at least as large as that in the Ocean about,” says Fumio Inagaki of the Japan Sea Research Institute, Jamstec.

To find it, it is not easy however. “On the surface of the seabed’s still teeming microbial cells, but they are becoming increasingly rare in the samples from the deeper rock,” so his colleague Yuki Morono.

“This is similar to a PIN finding in a haystack.” said Y. Morono

Sensitive analysis techniques in the clean room

Therefore, the researchers have excellent analysis techniques. Still on board, the cores to crawl after life. The 25 scientists to find something or they have a reasonable suspicion, let them bring the sample by helicopter to land. Six scientists with highly sensitive analytical techniques work in a clean room of the Kochi core Center. You can prove 100 cells per cubic centimeter. This corresponds to 100 grains of sand in an Olympic swimming pool.

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With the research ship, a helicopter is on the way. Samples of the drilling be checked directly on board. Scientists find something suspicious they are taken immediately by helicopter ashore to fine analyzing. Photo: Jamstec

The expedition will end on 10 November. This is followed by two weeks of analysis on land. And at the end, the researchers can tell exactly at which temperature all life dies.

Microbes protect the climate

Micro-organisms that can survive in extreme conditions, are of great importance for the environment. Some feed on methane, which flows from column at the bottom of the sea. They prevent that it lands in effect in the atmosphere and accelerates climate change.

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The researchers are on the road for 60 days. Location and depth of the holes are so planned that they should just reach the life limit. Photo: Deep Carbon Observatory, http://www.jamstec.go.jp/e/

In December 2015, engineers by boat on the Indian Ocean went to unravel mysteries of the creation of the Earth. For this they were trying to achieve for the first time the outer mantle with holes. You can read more about this exciting mission here.

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