The aqueous alteration of ultramafic rocks through serpentinization liberates mantle carbon and reducing power. Serpentinization occurs in numerous settings on present day Earth, including subduction zones, mid-ocean ridges, and ophiolites and has extended far into Earth’s history, potentially contributing to the origins and early evolution of life. Serpentinization can provide the energy and raw materials to support chemosynthetic microbial communities that may penetrate deep into Earth’s subsurface. Microorganisms may also influence the composition and quantity of carbon-bearing compounds in the deep subsurface. However, conditions created by serpentinization challenge the known limits of microbial physiology in terms of extreme pH, access...

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