CORVALLIS, Ore. – A Canadian researcher who has discovered a source of water more than 2 billion years old – and tasted it for the sake of science – will present the 2017 Thomas Condon Lecture at Oregon State University on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a geologist from the University of Toronto, will deliver the lecture. Her talk, “Where Captain Nemo Got it Right, and Wrong: Life in the Deep Earth,” will begin at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center’s Construction and Engineering Hall, 26th Street and Western Boulevard in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public, with a reception beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Sherwood Lollar studies ancient water – and the rocks surrounding it – to look for clues to the origins of life on Earth. In her Condon Lecture, she will take the audience on a journey with explorers past, present and future and descend into places on Earth “where life ekes out an existence far from the energy of sunlight,” she said.

Her presentation will look at micro-organisms that draw their energy not from the sun, but from the power of chemistry in some of the darkest places on Earth – from black “smoker” vents in the ocean’s hydrothermal fields, to deep fracture waters bubbling up nearly two miles below the surface of northern Canada and in the gold mines of South Africa.

In 2012, Sherwood Lollar was awarded the Geological Society of America’s Geomicrobiology and Geobiology Award, and the Eni Award for Protection of the Environment.

Sherwood Lollar will also give a more technical presentation on a related topic. Her George Moore Lecture, “Exploration of the Earth’s Deep Hydrogeosphere and Subsurface Microbial Life,” will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Johnson Hall Room 102.

The presentations are sponsored by the OSU Research Office and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

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Story By: 

Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788,


Rick Colwell, 541-737-5220,