In the Hawaiian Islands there are 800-year-old tunnels formed by the cooling of lava. Scientists have found colonies of unknown bacteria.
In the Hawaiian Islands , scientists have found an astonishing assortment of bacteria swarming in the lava tubes . The latter are very numerous in Hawaii and near volcanic vents. Bacteria are microorganisms found everywhere, even in extreme conditions. Many of these live in cold environments similar to lava tubes on Mars. They are formed when the more surface material of the lava flow cools. The result is a casing for the lava that still flows inside it until the flow is exhausted. Eventually the lava tube is completely empty.
Most lava tubes formed between 65 and 800 years ago. They have not received sunlight since that time. There may be toxic gases inside . Despite this, there are bacteria in large numbers. However, the researchers failed to understand and identify which species they belong to. These microorganisms have always been neglected by the studies of biologists. Recently, however, there has been increased interest, as it has been discovered that they could live on Mars or on gas planets. Despite this today, 99.99% of them still remain unknown.
Returning to the discovery of bacteria in the lava tubes. Among the numerous organisms, those named Chloroflexi and Acidobacteria are present in almost all types of lava, regardless of their age. Here it is assumed the existence of fundamental bacteria, called hubs . Among these, the Chloroflexi give large quantities of carbon to the ecosystem, using minimal light energy that can reach very dark places. For now they are only hypotheses, but the study has been and will be useful in understanding the behavior of bacteria. Always according to their community and not individually.
- Hitherto unknown bacteria found in lava tubes of the Hawaiian Islands (focus.it)