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Water on earth is teeming with life and scientists are looking for life in water on other worlds. The question is, is there any water on earth that doesn't have life? I'm not talking about in a lab or water that's been specially treated, but any water out in the wild that a person could find that is completely devoid of any life.

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Considering that life was found a mile underground Antarctica in Lake Vostok, I think your chances are pretty slim.

 

And then there was the one found thriving a mile below the seafloor.

 

I suppose there are plenty of hot springs that are too chemically strong to support life as we know it, though they could have helped form the building blocks of life.

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Well the highest temperature any known hyperthermophlic archaea can survive in is 121 degrees so any water above that. (by current knowledge) Also psychrophiles have been found growing in salt veins in arctic ice so subzero liquid temperatures aren't a problem either.

 

Fungi was found growing in the Chernobyl reactor core so even radiation isn't a foolproof deterrent.

 

The main problem for life would be if a water source rapidly changed temperature frequently. Protein structures have a preferred optimum temperature so couldn't easily adapt and membranes have to become specialised above 60 degrees.

Edited by Psycho
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There are life forms that live in what is for all intents and purposes battery acid, usually these extremophiles are bacteria but I have found fish living at a pH so low the water burned my skin pH was less than 5, I couldn't measure it accurately any lower with my test kits, in fact one isolated pond had only two species of fish due to it's low pH, the normal fauna of this area should have included at least 6 species usually more. I'm not completely sure but high pH may be more of a problem but I'm not familiar with high pH fauna. Sea water normally has a pH higher than 8, open sea is usually 8.4 or so, a pH of 7 is neutral Each number is 10X more than the one below and 10X less than the one above...

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Well the highest temperature any known hyperthermophlic archaea can survive in is 121 degrees so any water above that. (by current knowledge) Also psychrophiles have been found growing in salt veins in arctic ice so subzero liquid temperatures aren't a problem either.

 

Fungi was found growing in the Chernobyl reactor core so even radiation isn't a foolproof deterrent.

 

The main problem for life would be if a water source rapidly changed temperature frequently. Protein structures have a preferred optimum temperature so couldn't easily adapt and membranes have to become specialised above 60 degrees.

 

Aren't there extremofiles that live in volcanoes? There's probably bacterium that can survive boiling water too. F.

 

http://arstechnica.c...cama-desert.ars

 

Not only that, but there's whole ecosystems thriving in regions where the water is well above boiling while the pressure is greater than we could possibly handle and chemicals toxic to us are spewing everywhere.

 

http://www.amnh.org/...life_forms.html

Edited by questionposter
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Aren't there extremofiles that live in volcanoes? There's probably bacterium that can survive boiling water too. F.

Bacteria can't survive boiling water by the definition of their name. :rolleyes:

 

There is also a vast difference between "live in a volcano" and "live around a volcano".

 

Not only that, but there's whole ecosystems thriving in regions where the water is well above boiling

 

No there isn't. They live in the intermediary region between the high temperature of the hydrothermal vent (400 degrees) and the sea (4 degrees) with some not even adapted to the extreme much at all and just using the excess sulphur and nutrients dissolved in the water.

Edited by Psycho
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Bacteria can't survive boiling water by the definition of their name. :rolleyes:

 

There is also a vast difference between "live in a volcano" and "live around a volcano".

 

 

 

No there isn't. They live in the intermediary region between the high temperature of the hydrothermal vent (400 degrees) and the sea (4 degrees) with some not even adapted to the extreme much at all and just using the excess sulphur and nutrients dissolved in the water.

 

You really need to watch the discovery channel more because there's literally animals that jump directly into the stream of the hydro-thermal vents at the base of them. That planet Earth stuff has been around for like almost 10 years, it was this whole big deal about how life in the universe didn't necessarily need light form a star to thrive.

Edited by questionposter
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You really need to watch the discovery channel more because there's literally animals that jump directly into the stream of the hydro-thermal vents at the base of them. That planet Earth stuff has been around for like almost 10 years, it was this whole big deal about how life in the universe didn't necessarily need light form a star to thrive.

You make it sound like there is a mistake in Psycho's post, but there isn't.

 

He is not saying that the animals are not in those hydrothermal vents. He is saying that the water is not boiling.

Boiling water forms steam. In the deep sea, the water is supercritical, and not boiling. The animals cannot survive boiling water, because there is no boiling water. It's like trying to survive a plane crash without a plane. It just doesn't work.

 

The boiling point of water (100°C) as stated in many sources is the boiling point at 1 atmosphere of pressure (the pressure at sea level). At several thousand meters deep, the pressure is several hundreds of atmospheres, and that really changes the boiling point of water a lot. So much in fact that is simply refuses to boil, and instead becomes supercritical.

 

I would definitely recommend the BBC documentaries for looking at animals... in my opinion a lot better than the Discovery channel.

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Hmmm, complex life at above 100 degrees C? No, only simple bacteria, usually (but not limited to) archaea can with stand temps higher than 100C, no complex life form has been known that can withstand constant temps above around 50C. The animals that live around deep sea vents do not live in the super critical water, nor can they withstand any real exposure to it. 121C is the current highest temp cultured archaea organism, but there is some speculation that some archaea may actually live inside the vents but actually culturing anything at those temps and pressures is not an easy task. But no matter what the limit is for these archaea, the complex animals that live around these vents do not and cannot withstand temps even well below the 121C reported.

 

And BTW, the animals at these vents are not completely divorced from the sun as is often suggested, they do gain food from culturing bacteria in their bodies that chemo-synthesize using the chemicals that come from the vent or by directly filtering out these archaea from water after it has cooled but all of the complex animals there need oxygen, oxygen that is produced by photosynthesis...

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You make it sound like there is a mistake in Psycho's post, but there isn't.

 

He is not saying that the animals are not in those hydrothermal vents. He is saying that the water is not boiling.

Boiling water forms steam. In the deep sea, the water is supercritical, and not boiling. The animals cannot survive boiling water, because there is no boiling water. It's like trying to survive a plane crash without a plane. It just doesn't work.

 

The boiling point of water (100°C) as stated in many sources is the boiling point at 1 atmosphere of pressure (the pressure at sea level). At several thousand meters deep, the pressure is several hundreds of atmospheres, and that really changes the boiling point of water a lot. So much in fact that is simply refuses to boil, and instead becomes supercritical.

 

I would definitely recommend the BBC documentaries for looking at animals... in my opinion a lot better than the Discovery channel.

 

But the water from those vents is well above 100°C, isn't the water trying to evaporate and move up through the surrounding mass of water if it's above 100°C? What about highly heated water in the atmosphere is that different under water that life could form in the super-heated water of a vent and not water above sea level that isn't nearly as hot? Around the vents the water is moving faster even, or at least has more force.

 

Hmmm, complex life at above 100 degrees C? No, only simple bacteria, usually (but not limited to) archaea can with stand temps higher than 100C, no complex life form has been known that can withstand constant temps above around 50C. The animals that live around deep sea vents do not live in the super critical water, nor can they withstand any real exposure to it. 121C is the current highest temp cultured archaea organism, but there is some speculation that some archaea may actually live inside the vents but actually culturing anything at those temps and pressures is not an easy task. But no matter what the limit is for these archaea, the complex animals that live around these vents do not and cannot withstand temps even well below the 121C reported.

 

And BTW, the animals at these vents are not completely divorced from the sun as is often suggested, they do gain food from culturing bacteria in their bodies that chemo-synthesize using the chemicals that come from the vent or by directly filtering out these archaea from water after it has cooled but all of the complex animals there need oxygen, oxygen that is produced by photosynthesis...

 

http://dgukenvis.nic.in/artmar1.htm

 

Granted, not every animal in a vent ecosystem feeds directly off of the vents, but the carnivorous animals feed off of animals that do.

 

"The waters around the deep ocean hydrothermal vents as hot as 3800C"

"the organisms that are common to vents include various forms of microbes – bacteria and archaea, and macrofauna – mussels, crabs, shrimps, worms, anemones, fish, octopus, snails, limpets and so on. H2S-oxidising bacteria,"

Edited by questionposter
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But the water from those vents is well above 100°C, isn't the water trying to evaporate and move up through the surrounding mass of water if it's above 100°C? What about highly heated water in the atmosphere is that different under water that life could form in the super-heated water of a vent and not water above sea level that isn't nearly as hot? Around the vents the water is moving faster even, or at least has more force.

 

 

 

http://dgukenvis.nic.in/artmar1.htm

 

Granted, not every animal in a vent ecosystem feeds directly off of the vents, but the carnivorous animals feed off of animals that do.

 

"The waters around the deep ocean hydrothermal vents as hot as 3800C"

"the organisms that are common to vents include various forms of microbes – bacteria and archaea, and macrofauna – mussels, crabs, shrimps, worms, anemones, fish, octopus, snails, limpets and so on. H2S-oxidising bacteria,"

 

 

 

No, your link has been misquoted or is mistaken... it reported the worms living at 10X it's real tolerance, although I was mistaken in the 50C quote it does not live in super critical water. Tardigrades or water bears are famous for their fortitude but they do not live at high temps, they go into a form of hibernation requiring desiccation and do not grow again or live in anyway until they are hydrated at lower, much lower temperatures.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvinella_pompejana

 

They can reach up to 5 inches in length and are pale gray with red tentacle-like gills on their heads. Perhaps most fascinating, is that their tail end is often resting in temperatures as high as 176 °F (80 °C), while their feather-like head sticks out of the tubes into water that is a much cooler 72 °F (22 °C). Scientists are attempting to understand how Pompeii worms can withstand such extreme temperatures by studying the bacteria that form a "fleece-like" covering on their backs. Living in a symbiotic relationship, the worms secrete mucus from tiny glands on their backs to feed the bacteria, and in return they are protected by some degree of insulation. The bacteria have also been discovered to be chemolithotrophic, contributing to the ecology of the vent community. Recent researches suggest that the bacteria might play an important role in the feeding of the worms.[3]

Attaching themselves to black smokers, the worms have been found to thrive at temperatures of up to 80 °C (176 °F), making the Pompeii worm the most heat-tolerant complex animal known to science after the tardigrades (or water bears), which are able to survive temperatures over 150 °C.

 

That article has much misinterpreted data...

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No, your link has been misquoted or is mistaken... it reported the worms living at 10X it's real tolerance, although I was mistaken in the 50C quote it does not live in super critical water. Tardigrades or water bears are famous for their fortitude but they do not live at high temps, they go into a form of hibernation requiring desiccation and do not grow again or live in anyway until they are hydrated at lower, much lower temperatures.

 

http://en.wikipedia....nella_pompejana

 

 

 

That article has much misinterpreted data...

 

Well, just watch "Planet Earth" then. One of those episodes even has footage of living things in the vent system and even in the stream of the vent itself.

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No, your link has been misquoted or is mistaken... it reported the worms living at 10X it's real tolerance, although I was mistaken in the 50C quote it does not live in super critical water. Tardigrades or water bears are famous for their fortitude but they do not live at high temps, they go into a form of hibernation requiring desiccation and do not grow again or live in anyway until they are hydrated at lower, much lower temperatures.

 

http://en.wikipedia....nella_pompejana

 

 

 

That article has much misinterpreted data...

 

Well, just watch "Planet Earth" then. One of those episodes even has footage of living things in the vent system and even in the stream of the vent itself.

 

No, your link has been misquoted or is mistaken... it reported the worms living at 10X it's real tolerance, although I was mistaken in the 50C quote it does not live in super critical water. Tardigrades or water bears are famous for their fortitude but they do not live at high temps, they go into a form of hibernation requiring desiccation and do not grow again or live in anyway until they are hydrated at lower, much lower temperatures.

 

http://en.wikipedia....nella_pompejana

 

 

 

That article has much misinterpreted data...

 

Well, just watch "Planet Earth" then. One of those episodes even has footage of living things in the vent system and even in the stream of the vent itself.

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Well, just watch "Planet Earth" then. One of those episodes even has footage of living things in the vent system and even in the stream of the vent itself.

 

 

 

Well, just watch "Planet Earth" then. One of those episodes even has footage of living things in the vent system and even in the stream of the vent itself.

 

 

Seriously dude, you need to look someplace besides popular science shows on television....

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But the water from those vents is well above 100°C, isn't the water trying to evaporate and move up through the surrounding mass of water if it's above 100°C? What about highly heated water in the atmosphere is that different under water that life could form in the super-heated water of a vent and not water above sea level that isn't nearly as hot? Around the vents the water is moving faster even, or at least has more force.

 

Boiling and evaporation are two different things. Water at 100 C isn't trying to boil unless it is at 1 atm pressure, you can make water boil at room temp fairly easily. Fill a 2 Liter bottle halfway with water and attach a vacuum to it securely. Turn it on and when the pressure above the water is equal to the pressure of the water it will boil. Now that's reducing pressure to boil at a lower temp, now think of what the massive increase in pressure at the bottom of the ocean does to the boiling point of water.

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But the water from those vents is well above 100°C, isn't the water trying to evaporate and move up through the surrounding mass of water if it's above 100°C? What about highly heated water in the atmosphere is that different under water that life could form in the super-heated water of a vent and not water above sea level that isn't nearly as hot? Around the vents the water is moving faster even, or at least has more force.

 

Water has a lot of weight, and therefore the deeper you go in the ocean, the higher the pressure. For example, at 5 kilometers deep, the pressure is about 500 bar (or about 500 atmosphere). Every 10 meter is about 1 atmosphere of pressure extra.

 

The boiling point of every liquid changes with the temperature. Here is a list of the boiling points of water at different pressures.You can see that at low pressure, the boiling point is lower. That means that for example in the high mountains, at 4 km altitude, water will boil already at 88°C!

 

But under water, at 20 meters depth where the pressure is 3 bar (1 bar from our atmosphere + 2 bar from the water), the water boils at 130°C. And the deeper you go, the higher the boiling point becomes. Until...

 

Until it gets so high that it enters the 'supercritical' state. Then water cannot evaporate because at the temperature and pressure at those vents, there is no distinction between gas and liquid water anymore. Sounds a bit mad, but it's true.

There is a lot of information about supercritical water, so read up on it if you like. And by the way, all materials have a supercritical region, not only water.

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Seriously dude, you need to look someplace besides popular science shows on television....

 

Well how do you know its mistaken? Because if I just google "vent ecosystems" there's a number of links supporting what I'm saying.

 

http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/20-1_fisher.pdf

 

http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_recently_revealed1.html

 

 

Water has a lot of weight, and therefore the deeper you go in the ocean, the higher the pressure. For example, at 5 kilometers deep, the pressure is about 500 bar (or about 500 atmosphere). Every 10 meter is about 1 atmosphere of pressure extra.

 

The boiling point of every liquid changes with the temperature. Here is a list of the boiling points of water at different pressures.You can see that at low pressure, the boiling point is lower. That means that for example in the high mountains, at 4 km altitude, water will boil already at 88°C!

 

But under water, at 20 meters depth where the pressure is 3 bar (1 bar from our atmosphere + 2 bar from the water), the water boils at 130°C. And the deeper you go, the higher the boiling point becomes. Until...

 

Until it gets so high that it enters the 'supercritical' state. Then water cannot evaporate because at the temperature and pressure at those vents, there is no distinction between gas and liquid water anymore. Sounds a bit mad, but it's true.

There is a lot of information about supercritical water, so read up on it if you like. And by the way, all materials have a supercritical region, not only water.

 

Ok, but that doesn't tell me really why boiling water kills things and not super-heating water.

Edited by questionposter
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Ok, but that doesn't tell me really why boiling water kills things and not super-heating water.[/size]

 

In fact, I am not 100% sure. Perhaps some biology experts can shine their light on what happens to bacteria or other microrganisms when they are being sterilized? What phenomenon is it that actually kills them?

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In fact, I am not 100% sure. Perhaps some biology experts can shine their light on what happens to bacteria or other microrganisms when they are being sterilized? What phenomenon is it that actually kills them?

 

 

If organisms are heated past a certain temperature their proteins become denatured... cooked in other words...

 

You really need to watch the discovery channel more because there's literally animals that jump directly into the stream of the hydro-thermal vents at the base of them.

 

No, no eukarote much less a complex life form could withstand those temps

 

That planet Earth stuff has been around for like almost 10 years, it was this whole big deal about how life in the universe didn't necessarily need light form a star to thrive.

 

 

Pop science shows often get things wrong, if they indicated any complex animals were being exposed to super-critical water they were mistaken. The Pompeii worms did surprise me but if you read carefully you will see they do not live in 100C or higher water, their tails are anchored on places that can reach 80C but the rest of their bodies is in cooler water, the head in water that is 22C, I'm betting they cool their tails by pumping cooler water through their bodies but that is my speculation but the idea that complex animals in the vent communities live in water that is super critical is unfounded....

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

 

from your link, I added the bold letters...

 

http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/expeditions/blacksmokers/life_forms.html

 

A key characteristic of the bacteria that support the food chain at deep sea hydrothermal vent communities is a tolerance for temperatures that is much greater than ours. Some species of vent bacteria can exist at temperatures as high as 110°C! This is why these bacteria are called thermophyllic or heat loving. Some of the larger animals also are observed to live at warm temperatures. For example, the temperatures inside some tube worms, built directly on vent chimneys, have been measured at 40°C, and another kind of worm, the Pompeii worm, has been photographed leaving its tube and swimming near a temperature probe that recorded 110°C. These temperatures are wildly extreme by any standard for marine life. We don't know how the Pompeii worm can withstand such high heat. Other vent animals live on chimney walls but not at the hottest spots. Instead they are bathed in warm water that is the product of mixing between the hot waters from the chimneys and the cold ocean bottom water.

 

From your other link, these temps are 10X what any other article i could find states, bold letters is me...

 

Pompeii worm (Alvenella pompejana) – an organism that has only been found in hydrothermal vents, living close to the vent than any other species, ranks as the most heat-tolerant among higher order life forms. The worm resides in tubes. When in tube, the worm’s tail end basks in water as hot as 800C, while its head rests in water that is much cooler, about 200C. The grey fleece or ‘hairs’ on the worm’s back are actually bacteria, which act as protective thermal blanket for the worm and also detoxify the lethal toxic chemicals.
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If organisms are heated past a certain temperature their proteins become denatured... cooked in other words...

 

 

 

No, no eukarote much less a complex life form could withstand those temps

 

 

 

 

Pop science shows often get things wrong, if they indicated any complex animals were being exposed to super-critical water they were mistaken. The Pompeii worms did surprise me but if you read carefully you will see they do not live in 100C or higher water, their tails are anchored on places that can reach 80C but the rest of their bodies is in cooler water, the head in water that is 22C, I'm betting they cool their tails by pumping cooler water through their bodies but that is my speculation but the idea that complex animals in the vent communities live in water that is super critical is unfounded....

 

http://en.wikipedia....drothermal_vent

 

from your link, I added the bold letters...

 

http://www.amnh.org/...life_forms.html

 

 

 

From your other link, these temps are 10X what any other article i could find states, bold letters is me...

 

 

 

So, in the same post, you stated only simple life can grow around high temperatures, and then linked to websites that even have pictures proving you wrong...

Even the water "around" vents is hotter than 100 C and under very great pressure.

 

Planet Earth series is BBC, and not a TV show as far as I know, they are documentary movies.

Edited by questionposter
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So, in the same post, you stated only simple life can grow around high temperatures, and then linked to websites that even have pictures proving you wrong...

There is a difference between around and in, they aren't scientific words, they aren't even complex words, a Year 3 pupil could tell you the difference, but apparently you missed that day at school.

 

Planet Earth series is BBC, and not a TV show as far as I know, they are documentary movies.

Lol, the BBC runs TV channels, that is their primary function, that is what the programs are made for, they are TV documentaries. :blink:

 

 

Edit: As he edited his post, to increase its wrongness I thought I might as well quote that as well.

 

Even the water "around" vents is hotter than 100 C

 

No it isn't. :rolleyes: Once the water has cooled it is a very nutrient rich stable environment, optimal for establishing life.

Edited by Psycho
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There is a difference between around and in, they aren't scientific words, they aren't even complex words, a Year 3 pupil could tell you the difference, but apparently you missed that day at school.

 

 

Lol, the BBC runs TV channels, that is their primary function, that is what the programs are made for, they are TV documentaries. :blink:

 

 

Edit: As he edited his post, to increase its wrongness I thought I might as well quote that as well.

 

 

 

No it isn't. :rolleyes: Once the water has cooled it is a very nutrient rich stable environment, optimal for establishing life.

 

Well, I'm not seeing any links form anyone saying specifically that what I am stating is wrong, all I am seeing is that when I google "vent ecosystems" and watch TV, it's saying life can live in water at least 200 C under more than 100 atmospheres of pressure, so I'm going to go with that or approximately that. I happen to have a book on ocean stuff from 2009-2010 so I'll see that that says

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Well, I'm not seeing any links form anyone saying specifically that what I am stating is wrong, all I am seeing is that when I google "vent ecosystems" and watch TV, it's saying life can live in water at least 200 C under more than 100 atmospheres of pressure, so I'm going to go with that or approximately that. I happen to have a book on ocean stuff from 2009-2010 so I'll see that that says

 

 

Questionposer, do you have clue as to what the difference is between "life" and "complex life"? If not then I suggest you do a little bit of research before you make any more claims that are... somewhat less than well informed...

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