2 billion-year-old water samples may contain organisms

Scientists discovered microbial-like structures in water samples taken from a depth of 3.2km under a gold mine in the Free State province.

The results of the preliminary analysis of the water samples were presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco last week. They have a temperature of up to 53 degrees Celsius. This is said to be the tolerance threshold of living organisms. This water also lacks nutrients on the ground and is 7 times saltier than sea water. The chemical composition of the water may be similar to the sediments on Mars.

2 billion-year-old water samples may contain organisms
Microorganism-like object in water. (Photo: Sun).

Looking at the water under a microscope, the researchers saw oblong-shaped objects that resembled bacteria or other microorganisms . An object even has a narrow center, like a cell in the process of separation. These water samples may have been isolated for 2 billion years from the living creatures trapped inside.

“It is likely that they have been isolated for a very long time. This is a unique opportunity to observe life evolving in an isolated sphere,” said Devan Nisson, an expert at Princeton University, a member of the research team. save, said.

However, it is also possible that what the team of scientists observed were only minerals. To determine if they are living organisms, they will try to take samples to see if they contain DNA.

If so, the team of scientists will continue to analyze the DNA to determine whether these creatures were trapped billions of years ago or accidentally brought down from the ground by miners. In the water sample, they also found organic acids that can provide the carbon needed for life, and nitrate and sulfate salts that some cells use for energy.

In the absence of living organisms, the water sample could help the team find out whether life can survive in such a harsh environment. This will be useful for the search for life on Mars.