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Snottites - slimy, dripping stalactites made of goo, that contain bacteria in abundance and beautiful microscopic gypsum crystal formations.

Snottites-Low_556.jpg
Snottites have captivated cave-goers and scientists alike since the earliest publication on cave microbes by Hoeg in 1946. These biofilms cover the walls with a thick snot-like film, from which they derive their particularly appropriate name. A variety of cave systems, the Frasassi caves in Italy, the Cueva de Villa Luz in Tabasco, Mexico, Grotta di Rio Garrago, and Cueva Luna Azufre, are sites of intense research for these microbial populations, but these are not the only caves with these formations. The snottites are exceptionally acidic, with pH 0-2. The composition of these snottites is still unknown, they have been found include to Sulfobacillus, Aciditiobacillus, Halothiobacillus, and Acidimicrobium species, protists, filamentous fungi, and a proposed bacterial lineage TM6.

Content credit: (http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Snottites)

Photo Credit: Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service

Related: NASA "Cave Slime" (http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/cave_slime.html)
 
 

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