Researchers across the globe are seeking for the existence of life on our neighboring planets. As of today, Earth is the only planet that hosts life; here, organisms manage to survive in places with extreme weather conditions. In short, life exists in barren desserts, frosted tundras, as well as in poisonous vents present deep inside the ocean bed. But have you ever imagined a place on Earth, where no life exists? Recently, scientists have found a region in Ethiopia, where no life exists. A new study goes against previous findings. After carrying out various experiments, researchers have discovered no life exists in Dallol, Ethiopia.
Dallol is classified among Earth’s harshest and challenging environments; it is extremely hot, acidic, and salty. The region hosts ponds that outspread across a volcanic crater, in decline of the Ethiopia Danakil. Due to excessive hydrothermal activity, the area is occupied with hot-boiling water, poisonous gases, and salt. Even in the winter season, sometimes, Dallol’s temperature ranges as high as 113 °F. As a result, pH value is negative in several exceedingly salty and acidic pools. The research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, on Friday, reveals the latest inhabitant region on Earth.
Purificación López García, a biologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, is the leading author of the study. López García noted they had examined numerous samples than in earlier studies. Even more, they have used fine-grained methodologies, including sufficient controls, in order to keep the samples pure. The researchers have analyzed that not even microbial life exists in these hot, saline, and extremely acidic pools. Also, there are no traces of like in the neighboring lakes, which are rich in magnesium. As per the scientists, the places surrounding the hydrothermal ponds do host life. There exists a wide variety of salt-loving microbes, halophilic archaea, in the barren lands, and the salty rifts bordering the hydrothermal sites.
In reality, the presence of chemical obstructs prohibits the evolution of life in those Dallol ponds. It is because they contain chaotropic magnesium salts that assist in the destruction of hydrogen. In the end, López García noted their finding proves that there are areas on the Earth, like Dallol pools, that are infertile despite hosting liquid water. In the future, the team aims to seek living species in similar circumstances on neighboring planets. Even more, they will continue to explore the pools for identifying more regarding the edges of life.