Cueva de Villa Luz

Microbially-influenced Corrosion in Caves

Actinomycetes, etc.

Sulfuric acid drips from the walls and deadly levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide belch from the numerous springs in this cave. Amidst these hostile conditions, bacteria are alive and well at ph 0.5, and a rich invertebrate fauna thrives in Cueva de Villa Luz. Lechuguilla Cave corrosion residues: a good home for microbes or the result of eating rock? Lechguilla, Spider, and Jewel Caves sport extensive deposits of what cavers call ``gorilla shit.'' Lava tubes and some limestone caves contain wonderful displays of actinomycetes, filamentous bacteria that may cover entire walls of caves, giving the appearance of a ``silvered'' surface.

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