SRISAWANG, B., MURR, A., HATZL, T., BÖHM, C., GEHLKEN, P.-L., KLENGEL, H., REITNER, J., PECKMANN, J., BÖTTCHER, M.E. (2005):
There is plenty of room for microorganisms within basalts from mid-oceanic ridges.
One of the most extreme environments on Earth is found within basalts at Mid-oceanic ridges. Here, we present signatures indicating dwelling of endolithic microbes in locally extensive pore space. Populated basalts may also provide analogies for studying extreme environments of the active deep biosphere, particular the crustal biosphere, but also deeply buried sediments, and oil reservoirs. The pore space in basaltic glass containing an endolithic biosphere is characterized by computer tomography (CT) linked with image evaluation. The method is applied to basalt samples from the Mid-Pacific ridge (ODP Leg 200) and from different localities of the Mid-Atlantic ridge. The first results show a heterogeneous pattern of the pore space in the basaltic samples that appears to be linked to distribution of endolithic microorganisms.