We humans think we’re pretty tough, but we’ve got nothing on some recently discovered life lurking around in the crystal caves of Chihuahua, Mexico.
The caves – part of the the Naica lead, silver and zinc mine – are remarkable for their enormous crystals, some reaching 4 feet in in diameter and 50 feet in length. But it’s what has been discovered inside the crystals that may be even more astonishing: New-to-science creatures that live on iron, sulfur, and other chemicals.
For the past eight years, NASA astrobiologist Penelope Boston and her team have been studying microbes trapped in fluid pockets inside the caves’ massive crystals of calcium sulfate. They believe that the microbes may have been stowed away there for 10,000 to 50,000 years.