AustraliaA study at the University of the West Virgin found traces of prokaryotes and algae trapped inside rock salt crystals dating back 830 million years.
Today, central Australia is desert, but it was once a sea of salt water. The Browne Formation has many unique features, including an extensive salt rock layer. Using core specimens of the Browne Formation collected by the Western Australian Geological Survey in 1997, geoscientist Sara Schreder-Gomes and colleagues conducted a non-invasive optical study of rock salts, which helps rock salt intact. That means whatever is inside the stone must be trapped by the time the crystal forms.
The team used ultraviolet and transmitted light analysis of the rock, first at low magnification to identify the halite crystals, then 2,000-fold to understand the liquid trapped in it. Inside the crystal, they found organic solids and liquids consistent with prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, based on size, shape and UV fluorescence.
The researchers emphasize that it is possible that some biological organizations are still alive. In the past, prokaryotes have been extracted from halite rock dating back 250 million years. In addition, microbial organisms can survive in trapped liquids by altering their metabolism, co-existing with organic compounds or dead cells as a source of nutrients.
The discovery by Schreder-Gomes and colleagues shows that rock salt, a natural mineral, can be a source for studying ancient marine environments that scientists have not yet exploited. The study also has implications for the search for ancient life not only on Earth but also on other planets like Mars, where salt deposits have been identified as evidence of ancient large liquid lakes. Schreder-Gomes and colleagues published the research results on May 6 in the journal Geology.
The ancient microfossils were formerly located in rock formations such as shale, dating back billions of years. Salt cannot preserve organic matter in the same way. Instead, when crystals form in a saline environment, a small amount of liquid can get trapped inside, known as entrapped fluid. They are vestiges of the water from which rock salt crystallized and are very useful scientifically, because they contain information about the water temperature, chemical composition and even the atmospheric temperature at the time of mineralization. formed.
An Khang (According to Science Alert)
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