Living organisms inside 830 million year old crystals?

Living organisms inside 830 million year old crystals?
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Microscopic views of the organic inclusions in 850-million-year-old halite crystals from the Brown Formation in central Australia.
Copyright/Source: Schreder-Gomes et al. / Geology

morgan town (USA) – In In halite crystals that are around 830 million years old, geologists have discovered the smallest, perhaps even still living, prokaryotic organisms and algae. The discovery not only reveals a new one source for the Seek and analyzes of primeval life on earth, but opened also perspectives for the Seek after extraterrestrial lifeapproximately also the mars.

Like the team around the geologist Sara Schreder-Gomes from West Virginia University currently in the journal Geology” (DOI: 10.1130/G49957.1) reported, the microorganisms discovered could, despite the unimaginably old age of the crystals 820 million years are still alive because they are not classic fossils. So instead of being literally “petrified,” the organism resides in small pockets of liquid salt water inside crystalsso-called dragonflies.

Dragonflies are gas bubbles contained in liquid inclusions minerals. The liquids in these inclusions can be remnants of the original so-called mother liquor respectively. be hydrothermal solution within which the mineral once formed, but also, as in the case of halite or gypsum, sea water.

So instead of being literally “petrified,” the organism resides in a small pocket of liquid salt water inside the crystal. Salt itself is not in the location, organic obtain material in this form. Halite (rock salt) may thus be a previously unappreciated source for studying ancient saltwater environments.

Also for the search of former or present life on the Mars be of interest there also on the Mars large salt deposits exist as remnants of former surface waters. In fact, scientists already have clear discovered younger and modern microorganisms in halite and gypsum crystals. Researchers were able to find some of these finds however also on clear higher age date. Until now, however, it has been considered difficult to determine precisely whether the organisms identified are necessarily the same age possess like the crystals themselves.

The halite samples now being examined come from the so-called Brown Formation in the Australian desert, which is known to have been home to a saltwater sea in primeval times. In this way, the Brown Formation provides a good example of the remains of ancient marine environments uncontaminated Halite samples from the Neoproterozoic (Young Proterozoic) that pre approximately 1000 million years started and before approximately 541 million years ended. means of the applied non-invasive optical analysis methods (e.g UV petrographyreflected light microscopy), the researchers were able to continue to ensure that the organisms in the included water not from the outside and therefore with modern ones organisms have been contaminated. that in crystal included water got to so from the time of the creation of crystals come.

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The one in the dragonfly included fixed and partially liquid particles demonstrate properties that come with those of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells to match (so cells with and without a nucleus) to match. based on degree of fluorescence the particles showed also noticed that some samples show colors as with organic decay others with modern organisms to match. This also speaks for the fact that the particles available unchanged. “It’s also possible that some organisms still alive today,” say the researchers, adding: “the liquid inclusions could well serve as microhabitats within the colonies of the organisms have endured.” Indeed it was scientists and scientists previously succeeded in prokaryotic organisms taken from samples that were 250 million years old. However, how microorganisms can survive for such long periods of time is not yet fully understood scientifically. It may depend on the intensity of the radiation environment or also on whether dying and new organisms form a kind of nutrient cycle.

From the discovery and analysis of organisms they hope researchers also new Findings about possible life on the Mars and expanding the methods of finding this. “Our work shows how and where to find similar crystals also on the Mars find and trapped within organisms could identify. “Primeval chemical sediments – whether of terrestrial or extraterrestrial origin are – should be recognized as potential homesteads of primeval microorganisms and organic substances, and they should be searched for and analyzed accordingly,” the authors of the study conclude.

NASA Rover Perseverance Begins Search for Traces of Ancient Mars Life July 21, 2021
Curiosity rover finds ancient salt ponds and lakes on Mars October 9, 2019
New eBook discusses possible trace fossil finds on Mars March 6, 2020
Discovery on Mars: Rover “Curiosity” investigates possible microfossils January 6, 2018

Research Sources: geologyWest Virginia University


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