Wednesday , April 14 2021

The driest place on earth is too dry, and the last rain caused a huge extinction.



A lake formed in the heart of the Atacama Desert during the rain.
Photo: © Carlos González Silva (Astrobiology Center)

Do you think that when it rains in extreme dryness, the earth must behave like a blessing of nature that celebrates life with joy? It is not always true in fairy tales, but rain in dry places like Atakama Desert can be a curse.

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It rained in the Atacama Desert in June 2017. It rained again two years ago. These are two extremely rare events, and in extremely rare cases we mention that they have not rained in Atakama for the past 500 years. According to geologic records, the desert was an arid area for the past 150 million years and a dry area for the past 15 million years. The driest desert on earth is also the oldest.

Such a panorama is a privileged place to study Atacama's ecosystem trying to extrapolate the way extreme ecosystems can be on different planets. It is a hell on earth, but Atakama is not exempt from life. In barren lands, there are millions of bacteria and extreme microbes to live in an extremely dry environment, high salinity and constantly impacts on large amounts of ultraviolet light. In many ways, Atakama is analogous to land on Mars. For example, nitrate deposits in terrain are very similar to those found in curiosity probes.

Needless to say, astrobiologists have come enthusiastically to study how the Atacama environment responded to rain. Alberto Gonzalez Fairen, an astronomer biologist at the Spanish Center for Astrophysics (CAB), said: "We witnessed a massive explosion.

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Armando Azúa Bustos, CAB researcher and the first author of the study, said, "The contribution of water does not mean the flowering of Atacama, but" a tremendous waste of soil microbial populations lived here before it rained. "Even a small lake after it was raining could not sustain its life. Natural Science Report, Cyanobacteria, or microalgae that could restart the ecosystem.

Understand the fate of Mars.

Rainbow was first photographed in the heart of the Atacama Desert.
Photo: © Carlos González Silva (Astrobiology Center)

The parable is particularly interesting because it provides clues to what has happened on Mars. The red planet followed the dry and precipitation cycle very similar to the Atacama. Alberto González Fairén explains:

Mars had Noyic (4,500 to 350 million years ago), the first geologic time, and there was a lot of water. We know the amount of preserved hydrological geographical evidence such as the footprints of rivers, lakes and deltas.

If at some point life on Mars has occurred, life would have occurred at this time, consistent with the origin of life on Earth. Later, Mars lost its atmosphere and authority and became a dry and dry world that we know today.

However, during the He – Spear era (3500-300 million years ago), large amounts of water drilled the surface in flood channel form. If there is still a microbial community that is resistant to the extreme drying process, we will be subjected to an osmotic stress treatment similar to that studied in Atakama.

In other words, Mars drizzled after losing the atmosphere, but later another rain came down. Instead of helping to restore the biosphere of Mars, its settling probably ended with destroying it. [CAB y Nature]


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