JORN PECKMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JORN PECKMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Microfossils. Light micrograph of mineral deposits (light brown filaments) left behind by microbes that lived within cavities of 400 million year old volcanic rock. Volcanic lava that formed underwater cooled quickly to form pillow basalt. Tiny cracks and pores on the surface of the rock were penetrated by seawater and bacteria. Over time, the cracks were filled by minerals, trapping the bacteria within. It is thought the bacteria survived by feeding on iron, before becoming fossilised. It is thought basaltic rock on Mars may contain similar microfossils.
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