The dark, heavy, monotonous country is much livelier than it seems at first glance. For years, it was thought that there was nothing in the depths of her womb that could affect the origin of life. Scientists have discovered an ecosystem under the earth that is twice the size of the world’s oceans, as evidenced by deep life studies, which study the depth of the earth and its composition. How much do we actually know about planet Earth and all its various inhabitants, are we hosts or maybe just guests?
A recent study by an international team of scientists from the Deep Carbon Observatory project explained that the underground biosphere is made up of between 15 and 23 billion tons of microorganisms. The diversity of species that inhabit the interior of the Earth can be compared to the Amazon or the Galapagos. They live despite extreme temperature, darkness, strong pressure and limited resources.
The researchers used samples from wells over five kilometers deep, but also from underwater wells, to construct models of ecosystems and check how much carbon of organic origin there is in the Earth’s interior. They concluded that 70 percent of the Earth’s bacteria and archaea are just below its surface.
It is an interesting fact that life on Earth is more widespread than can be seen with the naked eye. About a billion bacteria are gathered on the skin of an average person alone, and a much larger number is hidden inside it. The role of microorganisms is very diverse, they are usually useful, but they can also be deadly.
According to Elementarium, not only are there more microbes than human cells in the human body, but their genes are largely more responsible for the functioning of our organism, than ourselves. The planet is theirs, and we are only here because they allow us to. It can be seen like this – you are literally never, not at a single moment, alone.
Even more interesting is the fact that life “below” the earth is colorful. In the book “A Brief History of Almost Everything” by Bill Bryson, it is stated that back in the 1920s, two scientists from the University of Chicago announced that they isolated species of bacteria that lived at depths of 600 meters from oil wells. That idea was rejected because it was thought that there was nothing to live on there – for fifty years it was thought that their samples were contaminated with surface microbes.
Today, with the help of modern technology, drills that penetrate deep beneath the Earth’s crust and very precise microscopes, it is easier to get to know and identify the underground more precisely. We now know that there are microbes that live deep in the Earth and do not have much to do with the known and close organic world
The total volume of the underground biosphere is estimated to be more than two billion cubic kilometers and is expected to increase in the future. Scientists are trying to find a border beyond which there is no life. However, it turned out that the deeper they dig, the more lives they find. The current maximum is 122 degrees, but it is assumed that the record will be broken by new research with the help of increasingly precise and sophisticated instruments.
The digital age has given man an intense boost of enthusiasm and self-confidence. It seems to us that we know a lot, that the world is in our hands, but despite the extraordinary technological achievements and scientific discoveries, the Earth is still full of mystery.
The rich life of microorganisms takes place under our soil, on us – in us, in the seas, in space. Some of them survive in nuclear reactors, they can live for several million years, they have “superpowers” like heroes from comics and movies, and we only peeked into their world through a spyhole.