Life in the bacterial underground

Tiny life forms in rock may coax minerals to release hydrogen for food

By Stephen Ornes, 18:54 PM February 23, 2011

To you, a rock is just a rock — something you can study, or climb, or throw into a pond. But to bacteria and other tiny organisms that live deep underground, rocks and minerals may offer something extra: The energy for staying alive.


Microscopic organisms, often called microbes, are so small you can usually see them only under the microscope. Microbes living in rock beneath Earth's surface seem to be able to secure their own food. When microbes are mixed with ground-up minerals and heated...

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