Hydrothermal Vents could be location where Life Began on Earth

Hydrothermal Vents could be location where Life Began on Earth

Underwater volcanoes help form hydrothermal vents, which are formed due to converging plate boundaries. The vents are vital, as they hold biological molecules similar to enzymes and may suggest that they might hold life within them.

Three decades back in 1977, hydrothermal vents were first discovered near the Galapagos Islands. Not only the vents were found, a massive number of earlier unseen organisms were also discovered.

Now, researchers, including Dr. Nora de Leeuw from the University College London in the United Kingdom think that hydrothermal vents have water that is hot and turbulent. It is filled with carbon dioxide that has been dissolved within the water.

In fact, Dr. Nora thinks that the vents could be there, where life began. Experiments were conducted to imitate the start of underwater life inside these hydrothermal vents. Computer simulations showed the molecule by molecule process providing researchers hint as what would have happened millions of years ago.

The researchers think that the vents may have acted as catalysts, which encouraged chemical changes to take place. Study's co-author Nathan Hollingsworth said about the vents, "They behave much like enzymes do in living organisms, breaking down the bonds between carbon and oxygen atoms. This lets them combine with water to produce formic acid, acetic acid, methanol and pyruvic acid".

The research findings would pave the way for better understanding of the formation of life not only on earth, but also on other planets. There are chances that deep sea vents could have a deep link to it. Also, the latest study has unveiled as to how simple organic molecules can be synthesized in nature without living organisms being present.