In today's issue of Science magazine, a team led by John Parkes of the University of Cardiff reports archaea thriving in rocks more than 1km below the sea floor.
The researchers found these microorganisms in 111 million year old sediment
located 1626 meters below the sea floor, and
living in temperatures of 60 - 100 degrees
Celsius (140 - 212 degrees Fahrenheit). Their
environment is characterized by thermal
energy sources and high concentrations of
methane and hydrocarbons, and these archaea appear to be
metabolically active and dividing in it.
Extending the Sub-Sea-Floor Biosphere
Erwan G. Roussel,1 Marie-Anne Cambon Bonavita,1 Joël Querellou,1 Barry A. Cragg,2 Gordon Webster,2 Daniel Prieur,1 R. John Parkes2*
Science 23 May 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5879, p. 1046