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Extreme Life and Environments
Yellowstone Mats2


Microbial mats growing in hot spring-fed streams, like these here in Yellowstone National Park, offer insights into the evolution of life on early Earth. As mineral-laden water flow over the mat, silica crystals grow, and the mat eventually turns into stone. The lithified mat is an analogue of conical stromatolites that are found in sedimentary rocks that are billions of years old. Image: Kate Harris, MIT

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