Name: __________________________ Class: _____________________ Date: _____________________
NOVA – Secret Life of Caves
1. Explain how water forms caves.
2. The floor of the “Big Room” in Carlsbad Caverns is covered in gypsum. What is this mineral?
3. The pH of carbonic acid is ______________, while sulfuric acid is __________________.
a. Which acid is stronger?
b. How do these acids relate to the formation of gypsum?
4. What gas is found in the oil fields around the mountains?
5. Bacteria have been found around Yellowstone living in 176°F water. What type of extremophile is this?
6. The water at Yellowstone is not boiling, yet is its bubbling. What gas is causing this?
7. What is the energy source of bacteria living in the undersea volcanic vents?
8. These bacteria would be classified as:
9. Explain how bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
a. How might these bacteria be responsible for the gypsum lined caves?
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10. Explain how Lechugilla is a more isolated and extreme environment than other caves.
11. Describe two ways that human explorers can accidentally impact the microscopic life in caves.
12. How do the scientists find the microbes in the samples they bring back to the lab?
13. What exactly are the bacteria “eating” in the rock walls?
Cueva de Villa Luz
14. What two compounds are present in the water flowing from the cave?
15. What is the source of the hydrogen sulfide gas?
16. What shape are the snottite bacteria?
a. Coccus (Round)
b. Bacillus (Rod)
c. Spirilla (Spiral)
17. What is unique about this cave that allows the archaea to survive there?
18. Describe the experiment conducted in the cave:
19. Why might caves and the ocean floor have been more inhabitable than the surface of the Earth during
its early history?
20. If life exists on other plants, where is it most likely going to be found?