After about 500 years of rainfall, the Atakama desert in Chile reaches the end of the rain. However, these rains do not support life, but on the contrary.
Life on Earth can not survive without water, but sudden introduction of superfluous water for the microbes that are adapted to dry conditions can completely disappear. This is the result of a new article published this week Scientific reports.
Although it can be used on the surface of the earth, these findings can be used on a planet that is capable of developing microbial life in ancient times but at the same time flooding.
Atakama desert, 105,000 square kilometers north of Chile, is one of the oldest and most deserted deserts on the Earth. That's 150 million years old. In the desert, there are hyper-dry nuclei, and in climatic models, the main events of rainfall are predicted once in a century. It should be noted that in the past 500 years there is no precipitation in the region.
But things in the Desert of Atakama – this is not optional.
Starting from 2015, three major precipitation events in the desert will be two in 2015 and one in 2017. Before the water is sprayed for several months, the rainwater is accumulated in super-salt lagoons. Within the framework of these unprecedented meteorological events, a group of astrobiologists from Cornell University and Astrobiology Center (CAB) visited Atacama and saw how it could affect the microbial life in the rainwater and these hyperaline lagoons.
In Atakama Desert, water can be small, but this does not mean that the region does not support life. Contains many salts, nitrates and sulphates. Organic compounds, not many. Here is a surprising number of living in dry soils that make up all three areas of life (bacteria, archea, and eukaryotes). Extremophilic microbes, an unusual environment after millions of years of evolution.
New studies have shown that recent rains were not friendly to these little crickets. Without causing prosperity, the rain has been harming the microbes that have made the desert their home for thousands of years.
"Here, for millions of years, sudden and massive water intoxication is harmful to many microbial types of soils that are perfectly adapted to survive with a sufficient amount of liquid water, and when suddenly abundant water suddenly exits osmotic shock," writes the authors.
In the "osmotic shock," researchers say that the sudden change in water concentration results in a process that destroys the normal functioning of the cell. This is a convenient term for basically mobile water.
As the authors point out, unparalleled rains are the result of changing climatic conditions in the Pacific. Researchers have come across a "cloud mass of" desert from the Pacific Ocean, which appeared two times in three years.
The resulting precipitation was a widespread distribution of many native microbial species. According to new research, the earthquake rate reached 85% in the most difficult areas. Extremophilic organisms, who learned about dry conditions, could not withstand a flow of water.
"The rocks prehistoric to the soil have lived up to 16 types of ancient microbes," said Alberto G. Cornell Astrobiologist. Fairen and co-author of a new study. "After the rain, there were only two or four germs found on the lakes," says Francen, a researcher at the Madrid Center. "The destruction was massive."
Among the microbes that survived the liquid attack were newly discovered bacteria Halomons.
This investigation has shown that biological diverse microbials found in extreme environments are significantly reduced when water is suddenly present in water and in large quantities.
According to researchers, these data will help Mars to understand how microbial life has eroded. If it appears there, it should be proved. Mars is now a dry, dusty planet, but it has not always been.
Moreover, it is known that in the ancient times of Mars, there was a flood.
"The first stage of Mars was Nachian – 4.5 to 3.5 billion years ago, and there was plenty of water," says Faren.
In the end, the Red Planet lost its atmosphere, and surface water was rinsed off. However, from 3.5 to 3 billion years ago, much of the water flowed on the surface.
"If microbial societies still exist in the extreme drying process, they were exposed to osmotic stress processes similar to those taught at Atacama," Faren explained.
"That's why our Atacama study, the recycling of Mars for Mars, could have led to the loss of life if instead of allowing the microbial to flourish again."
It's fun to see what's happening in Atacama Desert. Does our changing climate bring more rain to the desert? If so, would it be raining or the new ecosystem? Only time will show.[Scientific Reports]