Researchers from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rosenstiel at the University of Miami (UM) recently discovered rare deep-sea salt pools in the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea.
These underwater salt marshes hold the secrets of how Earth’s oceans formed millions of years ago and hold clues to life on other planets.
— Phys.org (@physorg_com) July 12, 2022
A scientific team led by Sam Perkis, professor and chair of the Department of Marine Geosciences at the University of Miami, partnered with OceanX to make the discovery more than one mile below sea level (1,770 meters) using a remotely operated submersible. (ROV) OceanXplorer, an advanced research vessel capable of exploring the most remote places on Earth, owned by OceanX, an ocean exploration organization.
“Until we understand the limits of life on Earth, it will be difficult to determine whether alien planets could host any organisms,” Birkes said. “Our discovery of a rich community of microbes living in extreme environments could help trace the limits of life.” on Earth and can be used to search for Life elsewhere in our solar system and beyond.”
Salt water pools are some of the harshest environments on Earth, but despite their high salinity, strange chemistry, and complete lack of oxygen, these pools are teeming with life.
Previously, bioactive molecules with potential anti-cancer properties have been isolated from microbes harvesting brine in the Red Sea.
The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, is the first discovery of salt water pools in the Gulf of Aqaba.
“We are very lucky,” Birkes said. “The discovery was made in the last five minutes of a 10-hour submersible dive. We can dedicate it to this project.”
These highly saline and anoxic basins are located close to the coast and contain information about tsunamis, floods and earthquakes in the Gulf of Aqaba dating back thousands of years. There are many fissures and fissures on the seafloor associated with tectonics in this area of the Gulf of Aqaba.