Utica Fracking May Help Locate Evidence of Life on Mars

In 2016 MDN brought you the story of researchers who found microbes (bacteria) living nearly two miles down in Utica Shale wells. They dubbed one of the never-before-seen bacterial “lifeforms” in the well Frackibacter. We immediately labeled it a different name: Frackenstein (see Frackenstein! Researchers Find New Life Form in Fracked Utica Wells). One of the Ohio State researchers who helped discover Frackenstein continued the work. Last July he published a study titled, “Sulfide Generation by Dominant Halanaerobium Microorganisms in Hydraulically Fractured Shales” (see Ohio State Research Finds Microbes in Utica Well May be Corrosive). The researcher said a different bacteria he studied, that appeared in multiple Utica wells (called Halanaerobium) may be a cause for concern, possibly corrosive to pipes and cement and toxic for workers. Bear in mind the study was theoretical and based on observations at a single Utica well. The intrepid researchers at Ohio State have kept at it and have now published a third study. This new study, titled “Coupled laboratory and field investigations resolve microbial interactions that underpin persistence in hydraulically fractured shales” (full copy below), may “hold clues to extraterrestrial life” and assist in our efforts to search for life on the planet Mars. Far out! ET phone home–we’re about to frack Mars…

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