Canadian geologists made an extraordinary discovery during their work at Kidd Mine, the world’s deepest copper and zinc mine. First, the find was the oldest water in the world, and now the deepest living microorganisms.
Scientists, working under the leadership of Barbara Sherwood Lollar, made their first sensational discovery at the Kidd Mine mine in 2013. At a depth of 2.5 kilometers, sulfur and hydrogen rich water 500 million years ago was discovered there. A few years later, they discovered water that was 3 billion years old.
The team is now reporting an even more interesting find. Namely, microorganisms were discovered in the mine, so-called sulfate reducers, operating at a depth of up to 2.5 kilometers. What fascinates scientists the most, they are completely separated from the outside world, because they live under a thick layer of Precambrian rocks, and despite this fact they can be there and develop for hundreds of millions or even billions of years techboss.
The samples of water taken by researchers from the mine contained a small amount of microorganisms, about 1 thousand to 10 thousand cells per milliliter. Meanwhile, in surface water it is about 100,000 cells per milliliter. This shows us that microorganisms are not as common there as it is on the surface, due to the extreme conditions prevailing there, but they still occur.
The discovery is great news for astrobiologists who are looking for life on alien planets. Similar situations could have once happened also on Mars, where huge deposits of water can now be deep below the surface, and in them can exist simple organisms. Future missions will let us know the truth.