Lost city, hydorthermal vent

This work was selected for the cover of Astrobiology magazine in February 2016. It is my interpretation of the potential cradle of life, an alkaline hydrothermal vent, and is titled Lost City after the first of such structures found, in the bottom of the Atlantic.

The blurb of the magazine said: “Art can create impressions that go beyond the visible, relying instead on our knowledge of the invisible, in this case the flux of carbon and energy that arguably drove the emergence of life. The painting conjures up the labyrinth of micropores inside alkaline vents, as well as a sense of continuous flow, as thermal gradients dissipate through convection and mixing within the porous walls of the vent. As Sojo et al. discuss in this issue, the far-from-equilibrium flux of carbon and energy in Hadean alkaline hydrothermal vents made them ideal electrochemical flow reactors for the origin of life, with a physical topology remarkably analogous, perhaps even homologous, to the structure of autotrophic cells. Sojo et al. review recent work on microbiology and geochemistry and point to a new hypothesis for why bacteria and archaea may have diverged before they even left this cradle of life”.