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Microbial Life in Impact Craters

Cockell, Charles S. and Osinski, Gordon and Sapers, Haley and Pontefract, Alexandra and Parnell, John (2020) Microbial Life in Impact Craters. Current Issues in Molecular Biology, 38 . pp. 75-102. ISSN 1467-3037.

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Asteroid and comet impacts are known to have caused profound disruption to multicellular life, yet their influence on habitats for microorganisms, which comprise the majority of Earth's biomass, is less well understood. Of particular interest are geological changes in the target lithology at and near the point of impact that can persist for billions of years. Deep subsurface and surface-dwelling microorganisms are shown to gain advantages from impact-induced fracturing of rocks. Deleterious changes are associated with impact-induced closure of pore spaces in rocks. Superimposed on these long-term geological changes are post-impact alterations such as changes in the hydrological system in and around a crater. The close coupling between geological changes and the conditions for microorganisms yields a synthesis of the fields of microbiology and impact cratering. We use these data to discuss how craters can be used in the search for life beyond Earth.

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Sapers, Haley0000-0002-1797-1722
Additional Information:© 2020 Caister Academic Press.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200127-151241913
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100953
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Jan 2020 18:18
Last Modified:28 Jan 2020 18:18

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