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No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986

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Exploring The Suberranean World Of Life

Examining fluid inclusions in hydrothermal quartz crystals obtained from a drill hole in Yellowstone National Park, K.E. Bargar and his colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey noted many rodlike and threadlike particles that closely resembled bacteria. Although these partiles move, as if alive, they are only in Brownian motion. But even in death, they tell us that life forms can prosper deep underground at very high pressures and temperatures. The crystals that ultimately grew around the fluid particles came from fractures in Pleistocene rhyolite hundreds of feet below the surface. The authors concluded:

"Thermophilic microorganisms may hold the key to an understanding of several biological and geochemical processes, including the origin of life. The discovery of possible microorganisms in these fluid inclusions from the Yellowstone volcanic area enlarges the range of potential environments over which subsequent investigations should be conducted."

(Barger, Keith E., et al; "Particles in Fluid Inclusions from Yellowstone National Park -- Bacteria?" Geology, 13:483, 1985.)

Comment. It is appropriate to note that similar "organized elements" have been noticed in meteorites for over a century.

From Science Frontiers #43, JAN-FEB 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987