Ligia Pérez Cruz, a researcher at the UNAM Institute of Geophysics (IGf), participated in an expedition to study the paleoclimate, or climate of the past, in the Guaymas Basin

Ligia Pérez Cruz, researcher at the Institute of Geophysics (IGf) of the UNAM, participated in expedition 385 of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).

The specialist participated in this expedition in order to study the paleoclimate, or past climate, in the Guaymas Basin, whose conditions are similar to those of the Primal Earth.

She was part of the group of 32 scientists from nine countries who spent 62 days aboard the IODP vessel JOIDES Resolution, with the project ‘Guaymas Basin, Tectonics and Biosphere ‘, in order to analyze this unique site in the world for being tectonically active and having hydrothermal vents with high temperatures and biodiversity of marine microorganisms.

In this place, considered a laboratory ecological and geological alive, the university had access to sea ​​floor perforations, where sediments can be analyzed to study the paleoclimate.

Experts have more than 3.5 kilometers long sediment to analyze and have a vision kaleidoscopic of a complex system: the terrestrial. “We hope to obtain information on the latest 500 thousand years, it is unpublished material ”, he stressed.

Processes similar to those that originated life in land

In the Gulf of California, the Guaymas Basin It is one of the most productive worldwide. There, all the biomass that lives on the surface of the water, called phytoplankton, it is deposited on the seabed when it dies and creates sediments rich in organic matter.

In addition to being tectonically active, records emanation of magma and thresholds are formed that give rise to igneous structures and the emission of certain minerals and compounds, which, when passing through sediments rich in organic material deposited in the ocean floor, transform and release carbon compounds, which are recycled by the biosphere of the sea ​​bottom and they contribute to the carbon cycle on the planet, Pérez Cruz explained.

“Guaymas is in the central part of the Basin, there different tectonic processes are developed because the opening of the sea floor is in staggered structures called” graben “. The fact of being able to drill near these structures allows us to know what the ocean floor dispersion processes are like, ”he explained.

Some scientists equate those processes with those that originated life on Earth, or those that prevailed in the primitive stage of the planet, when volcanism was very active and there was a great emanation of minerals from hydrothermal systems.

“The experience of collaborating in the expedition is unique; participating in the drilling brings you closer to the place of study. In this case, 26 sites were drilled, “he said.

The platform is a floating research institute with several sophisticated laboratories, where the materials can be preserved and then do sequencing studies of fungi, and analyze the gases emitted by the rocks, he concluded.

With information from López-Dóriga Digital