As part of a collaborative project known as the Deep Carbon Observatory, an international team of scientists has identified a vast "deep life" under the seabed. It includes microbes that can stay there for thousands or millions of years, AFP reported, citing the findings of a huge investigation that lasted nine years and is close to its end.
In their study, researchers penetrated the seabed at a depth of 2.5 kilometers and found it abundant previously unknown forms of life, which exist there in the most severe conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. In addition, these microorganisms remain barely alive: they are in a state of slow motion and similar to that of "zombies", the researchers need.
Experts have found that about 70% of our planet's bacteria and arches live underground, and that this underground ecosystem is equivalent to between 15,000 and 23,000 million tonnes of carbon.
Rick Colwell, a specialist at Oregon State University (USA), said "the Earth's deep biosphere is massive" and described these recent findings as "a very exciting and extreme ecosystem".
"There is a genetic diversity of life below the surface, which is at least equal and may exceed it over it, and we do not know much about it," the researcher added. In addition, he confirmed, studying that the underground life "will help to understand what has to look for in other planets or other systems where life could exist ".
For his part, Karen Lloyd, from the University of Tennessee (USA), told the Guardian that "it's like finding a new reservoir of life on Earth." "The immense part of life is inside the Earth, not the top of it," the researcher concluded.