Life Begins at 250,000,000 Years
WIPP’s underground isn’t just suited for physics experiments aiming to unlock the mysteries of the Universe, it is also a perfect “dig site” for biologists wanting to chronicle the history of life.
250 million years ago, the area around WIPP was all part of the Permian Sea. Today, the salt beds that make up the WIPP underground provide a time capsule, of sorts, to this ancient era. Researchers have uncovered ancient bacteria, cellulose and evidence of DNA from intrusions in the salt crystals of the WIPP underground.
Life on Earth has been bathed in background radiation since the dawn of time. This ionizing radiation comes from cosmic rays, terrestrial radioactivity, and internally deposited naturally occurring radioactive material in the organism itself. While other experiments in the WIPP underground take advantage of the location’s low levels of background radiation, one biology experiment actually conducts tests related to this phenomenon.
Click on a link below to learn more about biology at WIPP:
|Ancient Salt Beds|
|Low Dose Radiation|