Scientists have detected a potential evidence of life below the deepest point in the world’s oceans in Mariana Trench. The signs of life have been discovered ten kilometres below the sea floor.
Researchers, including ones from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, reached out to Mariana Trench located in the western Pacific Ocean.
They extracted about 46 samples of serpentine from the ocean floor near the South Chamorro mud volcano using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). They brought the samples back to their lab for study.
Researchers said serpentine is a mineral that forms when olivine in the upper mantle meets water pushed up from a subduction zone. Methane gas and hydrogen is produced by such reactions and it can be served as a food source by microbes.
Hydrothermal vents push serpentine to the surface of the sea floor, where the researchers found it.
They found trace amounts of organic material that was very similar to that produced by microbes living in more accessible places, the ‘Phys.org’ reported. It is possible that the serpentine samples are evidence of life living far below the surface, researchers said.
The team used data from prior studies to calculate how far below the sea floor the serpentine was formed, which allowed them to estimate that the possible microbes might live - about ten kilometres below the sea floor.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.