London, Feb 8 : Researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany have given evidence for the first time suggesting that micro-organisms could survive in gas bubbles within volcanic rock.
The team of researchers led by Joachim Reitner examined lava lying under water 390 million years ago and discovered curved filaments of minerals lining inside the bubble chambers.
The shape and chemical composition of these filaments indicated that they are the residues of microbes, reports New Scientist magazine.
After noticing a layer of cement deposited before the filaments the researchers suggested that the microbes occupied the lava after 1000 years of its solidification.
According to Reitner, the micro-organisms were able to get deep into the rock via tiny fractures, which would in turn have opened up after the lava cooled quickly under water. He speculated that they must have fed on reduced iron in the rock.
He said that these colonies must be existing inside bubbles since billions of years. He also indicated that organic carbon and marks engraved by microbes were earlier found in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic glass.
In addition he said that today, similar microbes must be found beneath much of the ocean floor.