Monday, April 12, 2010

Deepest Undersea Vent Discovered in Caribbean

From Discovery:

Over three miles down in the ocean, where the Caribbean Sea's warm blue waters fade into lightless black, scientists have found something bizarre and wonderful: the deepest active hydrothermal vent system on the planet.

As incredible as the find itself are the details: the smokers spew water hot enough to melt lead. The smokers' waters are so packed with minerals that their two-story high chimneys are basically made of iron and copper ore. An and around the vents gardens of strange bacteria flourish.

The existence of life thriving in this, the most inhospitable conditions ever recorded, virtually proves the potential for life to exist on other planets, which often are composed of similar mineral-rich boiling chemical soups.

And just last month, a NASA team discovered higher life forms surviving beneath a 600-foot-deep Antarctic ice sheet.

Clearly, life is - and can be - everywhere and anywhere.