World’s most inhospitable place could reveal how life was FIRST formed on Earth
SCIENTISTS are investigating the most inhospitable place on Earth as it could help them discover how life was first formed.
By LAURA MOWAT
UK (Express) — The Dallol salt dome in Ethiopia, which is one of the hottest and lowest places on Earth, may look like a hellish environment, but scientists believe the conditions are the same as those before life dominated the planet.
This geological depression, which has a unique moon landscape, is 128 metres below sea levels, has water at almost boiling temperatures, and lies on a 1.2miles (2km) thick layer of salt creating multi coloured structures and sulphur vapour.
The very special environmental conditions of this site might resemble those of the early Earth
The hostile environment is full of 118C liquids, geysers an hot springs.
It has attracted microbiologists, geologists and crystallographers from the France’s largest governmental research organisation, the National Centre for Scientific Research.
Scientist Lopez Garcia, said: “The very special environmental conditions of this site might resemble those of the early Earth.”
The exploration of the dome, in the Danakil Depression, will see scientists analyse life’s ability to find a way to live in extreme conditions so they can try and understand how life was first formed on this planet.
Life in terms of organisms began on Earth in a hot, acidic and volcanic environment, which is similar to Dallol.
The researchers are hoping the organisms could help scientists to explain why some species are able to grown in salt and acid, and see whether bacteria can develop in the most extreme conditions on Earth, in the hopes of finding out how we came to be.
The scientist said: “We went last year and came back to get more samples fro the dome, the underground salt lake, the black pond containing lots of magnesium chlorides.”