Life above a Oaxacan petrified waterfall

While visiting Oaxaca, we took a trip to Hierve el Agua, a set of ‘preserved waterfalls’, the result of a slow, many thousand year flow of water oversaturated with calcium carbonate. This creates a near white mineral formation that appears as a petrified flow. The springs that feed these flows had been used by the Zapotec people over 2500 years ago to irrigate the valley.

It’s waters are said to have many beneficial qualities. While exploring these pools we noticed the colored traces of other minerals, such as iron and silver.

Included in these pools were large patches of algae, which under the Foldscope revealed growth among large crystalline salt and mineral deposits. Within this algae was what appeared to be a small annelid that nimbly moved along by anchoring itself on the algae. Further searching revealed many of these organisms throughout the algae.

Any idea what this organism is? It definitely thrives in a pretty unique environment.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Puchina says:

    Very interesting. Maybe a crustacean?

  2. Hey Babo989,

    Awesome expedition, hope you’ve collected enough samples. Great find, It’s a rotifer..


Leave a Reply