Discover living things in the Dallol volcano, one of the most extreme places in the world

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

bizidunak-aurkitu-dituzte-dallol-sumendian-munduko
Ed. © iStockphoto.com/Guenterguni

Dallol Volcano is located northeast of Ethiopia, in the Afar triangle, in the middle of the Danakil desert. Its thermal waters present some of the most extreme conditions in the world: they are extremely acidic (pH 0 or lower), totally salty (saturated), rich in metals (iron, cupré…) and very hot (90-109 °C). Now, researchers at the Spanish Astrobiology Center have discovered microorganisms in their mineral sediments.

The results have been presented in the journal Nature Scientifics Reports. Among other things, they have analyzed their DNA and, according to genetic analyses and other tests, researchers believe they are of the order Nanohaloarchaea, but have not ruled out that they are of an order hitherto unknown.

However, other researchers have doubts and warn that you cannot be sure until it is confirmed. Affirming can be significant, for example, to know how life on Earth came about from the past and to investigate whether Mars or other places outside our planet might be or might be alive.

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