US Geologists Want to Crack Open 830-Million-Year-Old Salt Crystal That May Contain Life

As soon as it was shown to the public, numerous social media users speculated about the dangers of allowing hazardous bacteria to escape once the crystal was opened.

The Geological Society of America will open an 830-million-year-old salt crystal to investigate ancient microbes that scientists believe are still there and may even be alive.

Earlier this month, the geologists published their findings in the journal Geology. The microorganisms they wish to examine, according to them, are small vestiges of prokaryotic and algal life that were preserved inside minute bubbles of liquid in the crystal.

These crystals are known as halites, which are a sort of rock salt and the natural form of sodium chloride (NaCl). This particular halite was collected from central Australia's 830-million-year-old Browne Formation and includes organic solids and liquids.

The research demonstrated that microbes may survive in halite for hundreds of millions of years. This, according to scientists, will aid in the hunt for life "in both terrestrial and extraterrestrial chemical sedimentary rocks".

Geologists are also hopeful that comparable bacteria may be discovered on Mars, where massive salt deposits have already been uncovered in what were once water-filled basins.

Since hearing about the plans to split open the crystal, several individuals have expressed alarm about the possibility of a new epidemic if ancient bacteria are released. However, experts emphasize that the process would be carried out with extreme caution. Furthermore, several biologists who have commented on the impending experiment have stated that a bacterium that has never seen a human can never produce a disease among us.