Scientists crack open 830-million-year-old crystal to revive microbes lurking there

(ORDO NEWS) — American scientists, who announced the discovery of ancient prokaryotes and algae contained inside an 830-million-year-old rock salt crystal, are now going to open this crystal.

Microorganisms could theoretically maintain their viability all the time that has passed, and researchers now want to test this.

In an interview with this publication, one of the co-authors of the study Kathy Benison, a geologist from West Virginia University, said that they will soon try to crack the crystal to find out whether the biological objects contained inside are still alive or have died.

Microorganisms 830 million years old were found inside the crystals of halite – rock salt from the Brown Formation in Central Australia.

The study, conducted by American geologists, is important for the search for life in both terrestrial and extraterrestrial sedimentary rocks, such as on Mars. An article about this was published in the journal Geology.

The content of solid organic inclusions and liquids (fluids) in halites was confirmed by petrography in the ultraviolet range and by means of ultraviolet fluorescence.

The objects found correspond in size, shape, and fluorescent response to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, as well as to complex organic compounds.

This discovery shows that microorganisms from salt deposits can survive well in halite for hundreds of millions of years and can be detected by non-destructive optical methods.

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