Bioaltered glass

Bioaltered glass

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This image is part of the feature Rock Eating Bacteria


Caption: Bioaltered glass. Light micrograph of volcanic glass, showing granular tracks (wide brown band) made by glass-dissolving microbes. This sample was obtained from rock drilled 375 metres into the oceanic crust, 4000 metres below sea level. The glass was formed by super-cooled volcanic lava. The microbes probably dissolved the glass, using organic acids, in order to obtain chemical energy. The glass may also have protected them from grazing organisms. They provide evidence that organisms can influence changes in rock composition. The microbes may also influence important global cycles of minerals. Magnification: x500 at 5x7cm size.

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