The Subseafloor Biosphere at Mid-Ocean Ridges

The Subseafloor Biosphere at Mid-Ocean Ridges

Editor(s): William S.D. Wilcock, Edward F Delong, Deborah S. Kelley, John A. Baross, S. Craig Cary

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

Print ISBN: 9780875904092

Online ISBN: 9781118666135

DOI: 10.1029/GM144

About this Book

Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Geophysical Monograph Series, Volume 144.

Awareness has grown over the past several years that the subseafloor may harbor a substantial biosphere sustained by volcanic heat and chemical fluxes from the Earth's interior. This realization has profound scientific implications for questions concerning the origins of life, the true extent of Earth's biosphere, and the search for life on other planets. At mid-ocean spreading centers, the fluxes that sustain life are the highest, and the hydrothermal fluids in which micro-organisms grow are readily accessible on the seafloor. In addition, periodic volcanic eruptions flush fluids and microbes from the subsurface, and volcanic gases are believed to drive spectacular microbial blooms. Although ridges are challenging locations in which to work, they are unique in the oceans because of the diversity and dynamic nature of their subsurface environments.

Table of contents

    1. You have free access to this content
    2. The Subsurface Biosphere at Mid-Ocean Ridges: Issues and Challenges (pages 1–11)

      John A. Baross, William S. D. Wilcock, Deborah S. Kelley, Edward F. Delong and S. Craig Cary

    3. The Oceanic Crust as a Bioreactor (pages 325–341)

      Hubert Staudigel, Bradley Tebo, Art Yayanos, Harald Furnes, Katie Kelley, Terry Plank and Karlis Muehlenbachs