Is there a place on Earth where no life exists?
Life is very resilient, but there is one part of the world where nothing can survive, and it comes down to the importance of water.
Asked by: Tanya Sebastian, by email
Life is incredibly resilient, and simple organisms have been found everywhere from Antarctica to the bottom of mines; even the so-called Dead Sea supports ‘salt-loving’ haloarchaea microorganisms.
There is one part of the world where nothing thrives, however: the Atacama Desert in Chile. The principal reason is the lack of water: some parts of the Atacama have not seen rain for decades. The acidic soil and high altitude – leading to relatively high levels of ultra-violet radiation – don’t help either.
- On a desert island, would it be better to drink wine or go thirsty?
- Can life survive in a radioactive environment?
Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.