Deep Earth Microbes

27 Dec 2019

Robert sent in links to www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/10/18/Ancient-microbes-are-living-inside-E... ... and www.icr.org/article/11733/ .... and adds, in chaper 6 of his book, 'The Deep Hot Biosphere', Thomas Gold documents the drilling experiments carried out in the early 1980s at Siljan in Sweden. The oil sludge drawn from a depth of 6 km in a purely granitic and igneous region of Sweden is compelling evidence of the presence of hydrocarbons at a depth that the biogenics theory cannot account for. The sludge thus provided strong confirmation of the deep earth gas theory. Culturing experiments, in turn, provided tantalising clues to the  presence of deep microbial life. Robert adds, has mainstream science finally caught up after 30 years. 

It seems ancient microbes have been living in the crater of a meteor in Sweden. Prospectors are drilling for natural gas in what is known as the Siljan Ring, yielding rock cores. Tiny crystals of calcium carbonate and sulphide have been found in fractures which they claim show that micro-organisms that produce and consume methane have been present - and microbes are said to reduce sulphate into sulfide. These are isotopic fingerprints of ancient life, we are told. They say this was happening between 50 and 22 million years ago.

Scientists have theorised asteroids and comets delivered the ingredients of early life so this is where the thinking comes from. The Siljan Ring itself was laid down in the Devonian period - hundreds of millions of years ago (and therefore long prior to the microbe activity). The Siljan Ring has down faulted Palaeozoic sediments which seems to suggest the microbes did not come from space - or that is one of the conclusions at the moment. The geochronological time scale is against it.

At the second link we have the Creationist viewpoint - and neither are they fond of the idea of life originating in space (if only because of its accidental nature). It begins by saying scientists have reported the presence of methane producing microbes deep within the Siljan crater  and make the point that impact craters can be favourable habitats for colonisation by bacteria and microbes. The Siljan Ring is 30 miles wide and is surrounded by Ordovician and Silurian sediments, including black shales (source of oil and gas it is hoped). Hydrocarbons from shales have migrated throughout the fractured crater - an energy source for deep microbial communities. Broadly, the microbes consumed the oil to produce methane gases trapped in the sediments. The crater is thought to go back to the Devonian period so we might conclude the jury is out concerning whether Thomas Gold was right or not. Did the oil originate in the shales or has it migrated up from below.