Life forming Chicxulub impact crater?
The asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs, could also have been the one to give birth to microbial life. Scientists have discovered ancient microbial ecosystems beneath the crater that killed the dinosaurs.
According to the research, titled Microbial Fractionation of Sulfur Isotopes in the Chicxulub Hydrothermal System and published in the journal Astrobiology, beneath those craters, among mineral-rich water, primitive life found shelter and energy in the Chicxulub impact crater. By extension, scientists consider that earlier impact craters were also a breeding ground for this kind of life.
How did life arise on Earth? How did it survive the Hadean eon (Earth’s oldest period), a time when repeated massive impacts carved craters thousands of kilometers across the Earth’s surface?
How could a living being have survived, if in that period the oceans turned to steam and the atmosphere was filled with rock steam?
The concept that that life could have been formed and continued under impact craters like the Chicxulub impact crater, is known as the impact origin of life hypothesis. It argues that while repeated massive impacts made the Earth’s surface uninhabitable during the Hadean eon, the same probably did not happen in the region under the impact craters.
The Chicxulub impact crater is an ancient impact crater whose approximate center is located to the northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. It is close to the current population of Chicxulub, after which the crater is named. It was formed due to the meteorite that caused the death of the dinosaurs.
Ironically, those same devastating impacts may have created a vast underground refuge for early life on Earth. This is supported by a study that presents evidence that the Chicxulub crater, the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, housed a huge underground network of hydrothermal vents that could have served as a refuge for microbes.
So, is the Chicxulub impact crater life forming?