Scientists successfully find a 600 million year old time capsule – Okezone techno

JAKARTA – Scientists have found a 600-million-year-old time capsule in the Himalayan region. As compiled by IFL Science on Saturday (5/8/2023), the time capsule was found in the form of ancient water droplets trapped in mineral deposits.

These drops of water are said to be able to explain important events that are widely debated. It has contributed to the understanding of how colliding tectonic plates can push mountain ranges up, taking with them low-lying plains and the fossils deposited there.

As is known, about 650 million years ago, the Earth experienced one or more glaciations that formed an ice age. During this so-called Snowball Earth event, most of the planet was covered in ice, and how life could have continued is hotly debated.

Soon after, however, there was a huge explosion of complex life forms that led to the diversity we see today, made possible by the massive increase of oxygen in the atmosphere known as the Second Great Oxygenation Event.

The cause of this event is still under debate, including whether it is related to the previous freeze or whether the temporal link is a coincidence. Now, with the discovery of the time capsule, the questions that have existed so far can be answered.

Prakash Chandra Arya, a doctoral student at the Indian Institute of Science, has helped find deposits of calcium magnesium carbonate with water droplets in them. Based on the age of the rock it was found in, Arya and his team matched the water to the age of Snowball Earth.

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They found low calcium supplies for long periods, which they attributed to greatly reduced river flows in the sedimentary basins where the rocks formed. Locking so much water in ice leaves little for rivers to form, though whether that’s why remains to be seen.

As a result, the rock, which is usually mostly calcium carbonate, has a higher concentration of magnesium. They say these magnesium carbonate crystals have porous spaces that trap water and preserve it from then on.

The team demonstrated that photosynthetic cyanobacterial stromatolites thrive in the nutrient-poor conditions associated with such calcium deficiencies. When nutrients are more abundant, the fastest growing species outnumber the stromatolites. These stromatolites may explain the Second Great Oxygenation Event and subsequent awakening of the animals.

Himalayan magnesite is an exception valuable enough that Arya and colleagues hunted it across much of the lesser Himalayas. Let’s wait whether these results can reveal the facts that happened 600 million years ago or less. Stay tuned for developments.

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