Ethiopia’s high acid pool is the least suitable place on Earth for life, study says

According tomedia BGR, the earth is a very special place. Over the course of billions of years, life has weathered the worst conditions imaginable and evolved in many forms on Earth. But despite the ability of life to “find a way”, some tiny corners of our planet may still be completely unsuitable for any form of life, so a new study examines one such region: the high acid pool in the Dallol region of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's high acid pool is the least suitable place on Earth for life, study says

The area is dotted with hot pools with highly acidic water. At first glance, salt-rich pools seem to be lifeless, but scientists want to know if any of the microbes can manage to adapt to extreme conditions.

The paper, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, reveals that even for the salt-favorite microbes, the pond’s environment is too harsh. The researchers expanded previous studies and confirmed the disappearance of life by using advanced decomposition of chemicals present in scanning electron microscopes, X-ray spectroscopy and pools.

Ethiopia's high acid pool is the least suitable place on Earth for life, study says

In the course of human history, people have assumed a lot about where life may and what doesn’t exist. Many of these assumptions have been proved wrong. For example, it is believed that, due to a complete lack of sunlight, life simply cannot exist on the sea floor. This turns out to be completely incorrect, and today we know that even in the most extreme undersea environments there are all kinds of living things.

Ethiopia's high acid pool is the least suitable place on Earth for life, study says

Perhaps more interestingly, life does exist in the area around the pond. It is microscopic, so without the help of a high-power microscope, people will never know it exists, but the tiny creatures will avoid the pond itself.

Ethiopia's high acid pool is the least suitable place on Earth for life, study says

“There is indeed a large amount of salt-loving ancient bacteria (a primitive salt-eating microorganism) in the salt canyons around deserts and hydrothermal fields, but not found in the high acid and high salt pools themselves,” the paper’s co-author, Lopez Garcia, said in a statement. Despite this fact, the microbial diffusion of the region remains strong due to wind and human visitors. “

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