A new research study published in the journal Geology by geologists from the Geological Society of America has said they will crack open an 830-Million-Year-Old crystal with potential life in it.
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Geologists aim to break open an 830-million-year-old crystal to see if it contains ancient living microorganisms.
The findings on the rock salt crystal were initially published in the journal Geology (pdf given below) by scientists from the Geological Society of America earlier this month. Organic substances are floating inside the rock salt, also known as halite, according to the researchers, and the organic matter appears to be prokaryotes and algal cells.
“This discovery shows that microorganisms from saline depositional environments can remain well preserved in halite for hundreds of millions of years and can be detected in situ with optical methods alone. This study has implications for the search for life in both terrestrial and extraterrestrial chemical sedimentary rocks, “the study read.
West Virginia University geologist Kathy Benison told NPR that her team is preparing to open the crystal to see if the organic objects are still alive.
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“There are little cubes of the original liquid from which that salt grew. And the surprise for us is that we also saw shapes that are consistent with what we would expect from microorganisms. And they could be still surviving within that 830-million-year-old preserved microhabitat,” Benison said.
She claimed “a lot of detailed work going on for years to figure out how” to introduce microbes that are hundreds of millions of years old “in the safest possible way” back into the current world.
Benison’s team could find evidence of alien life from about one billion years ago, according to Bonnie Baxter, a scientist at Westminster College in Salt Lake City who wasn’t involved in the study.
Read the research article below: