Extremophiles, El Tatio Chile
Extremophiles are found living in vent systems all over the world. They are as their names suggest, extreme forms of life living in the most inhospitable areas on our planet. The environments range from high temperature, low temperature, acidic, alkaline, radioactive, ionizing radiation, high pressure, UV radiation, high salinity, highly arid (dessicated), metallotolerant - and this is the short list.
The El Tatio geyser field is located just a few miles from the border of Chile's neighboring country, Boliva. It is a surrealistic high-altitude environment, surrounded by stratovolcanoes that form from an impressive geothermal system. El Tatio is an ideal location to investigate unique microbial diversity and metabolisms associated with the arsenic loving bacterial diversities that are found within biofilms and microbial mats. The previously known "Tree of Life" has been expanded into another paradigm of weirdness with this metabolic "arsenic corner."
Arsenic concentrations at the El Tatio Geyser Field are an order of magnitude greater than at any other natural geothermal sites in the world. This makes El Tatio an ideal location to investigate unique microbial diversity and metabolisms. Chloroflexi and Proteobacteria are among the most prevalent bacterial phylum present and through their metabolic process convert arsenite to arsenate.
These reactive species like arsenate loving extremophiles are too unstable to exist but only a few places on Earth, and they may even quite possibly flourish on Titan. The implications for the diversity of life in the Universe is massive.
Specimen size: 18mm W x 14mm H x 12mm D, Contains arsenic-laden, thermophile brine on matrix.
Ships with tag, display case, Certificate of Authenticity. Collected by a geologist, in 1997.
stands not included.
Caution: Contains arsenic. Do not inhale. Wash hands after contact.