The 'Lost City' Formation

This image from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean shows a collection of limestone towers known as the "Lost City." Alkaline hydrothermal vents of this type are suggested to be the birthplace of the first living organisms on the ancient Earth.

Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds – especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus – we need to know what chemical signatures to look for.

Image courtesy D. Kelley and M. Elend/University of Washington

Page Last Updated: July 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Martin Perez