Table 3

Total number of prokaryotes in unconsolidated subsurface sediments

Depth interval,* mCells/cm3, × 106No. of cells, × 1028
Deep oceansContinental shelf and slopeCoastal plains§
    0.1220.066.014.54.4
   1045.0121.526.68.1
  1006.218.64.11.2
  20019.057.012.53.8
  3004.012.02.60.8
  4007.810.13.2
  6000.953.71.2
1,2000.613.21.0
2,0000.442.60.9
3,0000.340.7
Total275.179.925.3
Grand Total: 380 × 1028 = 3.8 × 1030
  • * Depth intervals are designated by the upper boundary. Thus, “0.1” represents 0.1–10 m and “3,000” represents 3,000–4,000. 

  • Corresponds to seismic layer I (23). 

  • Corresponds to subcontinental sediments (23). 

  • § Corresponds to geosyncline sediments of Mesocenozoic origin (23). 

  • Calculated from the arithmetic averages. 

  • Calculated by extrapolation of the formula of Parkes et al. (33).