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Illinois IGB


Art of Science Gallery 04

Living rock
Multiphoton Confocal Microscope Zeiss 710 with Mai Tai eHP Ti:sapphire laser

Image provided by Eva De Boever and Mayandi Sivaguru, Bruce Fouke Lab

Research funded by the TOTAL E&P Oil Company Recherche Développement

Only recently have ancient carbonate deposits that formed within hot springs (called ‘travertine’) been discovered to house globally significant volumes of subsurface oil. The successful exploration and production of these hydrocarbon reservoirs depends directly on the ability to understand and predict pore networks and permeability. Images like this, of thin travertine sections, suggest that cells line micropore walls and that the pores evolved as the result of the interplay between microbiological, physical and chemical processes.