Christian James

Animal Life MWF 10:00


Microbes Deep Inside the Earth,

by K. Fredrickson and Tullis C. Onstott


When one thinks of microorganisms they would usually think of bacteria on bread or rotting fruit. Although microorganisms can be harmful they can also be extremely helpful. This is why scientist over the years have found it necessary to study and research these organisms. A practical use of microorganisms is for many years now we have been using them to create cheese or bread. We have had other uses like degrading harmful waste products and their use to create antibiotics. The question this article addresses is two part. One part of the question asks if there are life forms deep within the earth's surface. The other part of the question asks if there is in fact organisms deep within the surface how did they get there, how do they survive, and what uses can we see for them. The scientist have gone through stages in order to finally come up with good, untainted samples. They used several techniques to do this research. The first method was to investigate the findings from an oil well. Many people didn't trust the results because they could have been tainted as they came up to the surface and where faced with a new environment. Now the most practiced method of sample retrieval has been to take a rock sample from deep within the earth with special newly developed drills. As soon as the sample is brought up to the surface it is put in a sterile bag and saved for safe examination. Scientist have been able to find living microorganisms from samples as deep as 1.7 miles under the earth's surface. The question has been answered that there are life forms deep within the surface and now with more research we can determine if these microorganisms can be of use to us. We still have left to figure out exactly how deep in the surface this wide variety of microorganisms live.



Scientific America, "Microbes Deep Inside the Earth," by James K. Fredrickson and Tullis C. Onstott.

This is an article summary of the article Microbes Deep Inside the Earth published on the Scientific American website in October of 1996