Scientists have found a place on Earth where nothing can exist-not even microbial life-the lake where absolutely nothing remains.
No, it’s not Hamilton-it’s just a salt and toxic gas-filled volcanic crater in Ethiopia.
“We have verified that after analyzing many more samples than in previous works, with adequate controls to avoid contamination and a well-calibrated methodology.
We have verified that there is no microbial life in these salty, hot and hyperacid pools or in the adjacent magnesium-rich brine lakes, “said Purificación López García of the French National Center for Scientific Research.” The infernal landscape, “as described by her team in a new study, is located in Ethiopia’s Dallol geothermal area.” It is one of the most torrid environments on Earth.
It is often hotter in the air than 45C, and the water is boiling all the time. Gasses emanate from the highly acidic pools.
Virtually everywhere else on Earth, life has been discovered, with some’ extremophiles’ living in environments as inhospitable as hydrothermal vents, molten asphalt and even the Dead Sea.
Although the area has a “kind of salt-loving primitive micro-organism,” Dr. López.
“And all this despite the fact that microbial dispersion in this area, due to the wind and to human visitors, is intense.” In other words, anything that ends up in the pools ends up dead.
“Our study shows that there are places on the surface of the Earth, such as the Dallol pools, that are sterile even though they contain liquid water,” Dr. López García said.
“We wouldn’t expect to find life forms on other planets in similar environments, at least not based on terrestrial biochemistry-like biochemistry.”