Scientists find signs of life in shallow mantle of Atlantic Ocean

Q.  What is Serpentinisation?
- Published on 03 Feb 16

a. Process through which certain mineral are converted to serpentine group of minerals in igneous rock formations.
b. Process via which specific primary ferromagnesian minerals undergo a change.
c. Both of the above
d. Neither a nor b

ANSWER: Both of the above
 
Scientists have obtained massive sequence of rock samples from the shallow mantle of the Atlantic Ocean bearing signs of life, ocean crust movement and unique carbon cycling. Researchers collected rock samples using sea bed rock drills from UK and Germany which marks the first time technology has been used in ocean drilling. Aim of this expedition was assessing how mantle rocks are brought to the seafloor and undergo reaction with seawater. Scientists hold that such reactions may fuel life in the absence of sunlight giving an indication of how life must have developed early in the history of earth or on other planets. Team will also acquire knowledge how the carbon will be impacted between the rocks and the seawater- which are processes impacting climate change through carbon sequesterisation. Rocks collected within these expeditions give a unique record of deeper processes formed during the Atlantis Massif. One also gains valuable insight into how there is a reaction between rocks with circulating seawater at the seafloor through a process called serpentinisation and its impact for chemical cycles and life. During the drilling process, evidence was found for hydrogen and methane in samples. This can be eaten by microbes to grow and form more cells.

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