Ancient Civilization of Microbes who built ‘Lost City’, Not Greeks


The formations resembling Greek ruins

Zykanthos is a Greek island in Ionian Sea and there are many stories about this lost city. It is the time when snorkelers discovered the ancient stonework and excavations in the bay off to this Greek island and government archaeologist began to investigate. The debris found might be the ruins of the city and a rare discovery in the shallow waters.

Now plucking the odd things out, archaeologists did not found shards of pottery or other valuable remnants for everyday’s existence. This would suggest that people might once have lived here and perhaps need to move away to survive, fleeing from rising water levels of sea.

After such long thoughts about the habitat, scientists finally navigated the clue. The columns and other objects found are not at all stonework but rather are the natural byproduct of breakdown methane gas. So those are ancient microbes who made it not people.

The research was published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology which led by the lead author Julian Andrews from University of East Anglia, England mentioned it as “cold seep” where methane in deep formations moved upward and then added sediments over sea bed. Those sediments are used by bacteria that use methane as their source of energy.

All the consumption of methane changed the chemistry of the water that lead to the saturation of sediments. The minerals precipitated and formed as rock dolomite. These dolomites cemented the sedimented particles at places forming concretions.

These concretions might have formed millions of years ago as the researchers suggested. The wonderful mystery lead by microbes are now solved which was previously misleaded.


About Saumyadip

Science Communicator and Biologist. Keep interests in host-pathogen interaction research. Specifically bacterial infection mechanism, host infection evasion and immune susceptibility of host. PhD student at Academia Sinica Molecular and Cell Biology, Taiwan
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