Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











It Came From Within

Life did, that is! Forget that warm little pond where life incubated according to all the textbooks. Instead, says T. Gold, an iconoclastic Cornell physicist, life began in rocky fissures deep down in the earth's crust. The idea is not as unlikely as it sounds. Look at the most primitive life forms we know, the archaebacteria. They like heat, need neither air nor sunlight, and prosper on sulfur compounds for sustenance. Such bacteria are today found in boreholes as deep as 500 meters, in thermal springs, and around deepsea vents. Gold surmises that these archaebacteria migrated to the surface long ago, where they evolved into higher forms of life.

"Gold argues, moreover, that the earth's interior would have provided a much more hospitable environment for proto-life four billion years ago than the surface would have, ravaged as it was by asteroids and cosmic radiation. And if life emerged within the earth, then why not within other planets? 'Deep, chemically supplied life,' Gold says, 'may be very common in the universe.'"

(Horgan, John; "It Came from Within," Scientific American, 267:20, September 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #84, NOV-DEC 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987