SCIENCE

There’s a place on Earth where nothing lives, not even germs

Aug 13, 2021, 5:38 AM
There's a place on earth, Scientists in Antarctica...
A science team studies lifeless soils in Antarctica (Photo: Byron Adams)
(Photo: Byron Adams)

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a place on earth where nothing lives, not even germs. Scientists have found life in almost every environment on Earth. From the deepest oceans to the highest mountains. But there’s a place in the mountains of Antarctica where there’s no life at all. There are no bugs, no bacteria, not even D-N-A. 

A place on Earth where nothing lives

The site has been exposed to the open air for thousands or possibly millions of years, but no form of life has been able to establish itself there.

Brigham Young University biologist Byron Adams has been there, along with colleagues from the University of Colorado.

Their study of soil samples has shown no life of any kind, which would make this place unique. It’s cold and dry, of course, but there are also perchlorate salts in the soil.

The place is similar to other planets

“That makes the site similar to what you might find on Mars,” Adams said.

“On earth, we use them to propel rockets and stuff, and they’re really toxic to life, and they’re found in the soils on Mars, but they’re also found in these soils in Antarctica,” Adams told KSL Newsradio.

Adams said the team had to be particularly careful not to contaminate the site with the germs they brought with them.

“What makes these places so valuable is that they’ve not been perturbed by direct human disturbance. And so we’re very, very careful,” he said.

Their study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

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There’s a place on Earth where nothing lives, not even germs