- The cave is called "Movile".
- 3 species of spider, a centipede, 4 species of isopod (the group that includes woodlice), a leech never seen anywhere else in the world, and an unusual-looking insect called a waterscorpion
- Movile's only snail [probably the only snail species] suggested that it has been down there for just over 2 million years.
- Many animals are born without eyes, which would be useless in the dark. Almost all are translucent as they have lost pigment in their skin.
- The cave seems to have no contact with the surface; Chernobyl accident had released lots of radioactive metals, which had found their way into the soils and lakes surrounding Movile Cave. However, a 1996 study found no traces of them inside the cave.
- The ecosystem seems to be supported by chemosynthesis; bacteria oxidise methane, sulphide and ammonia, generating energy and organic matter.
Really cannot win either way. Just have to hope there are other, undiscovered, caves like this around the globe.
I guess it depends how you define "ruined", but it doesn't sound like any species have been lost, or life in there has been interrupted in any significant way.
Maybe we still have dinosaurs lurking somewhere? Jurassic Park anybody?
Edit: a double airlock
Edit - and wore a hair net
But the moment we discover them...
Also, the people involved in those missions must have known about the possibility of contamination. Do they take no steps against it?
How can you still extract energy from a O=C=O molecule without using something like flourine? On the other hand, how does the CO2 get back into the carbon cycle? Do the organisms use an endothermic process to get the carbon back?
And has the 10% oxygen content been there since the cave was opened? Or was this the first mass extinction? While the water does not reach the cave, is there a way for air to make it through? I would expect no oxygen otherwise.
12 H2S + 6 CO2 -> C6H12O6 (=carbohydrate) + 6 H2O + 12 S
> "The bacteria get all of their carbon from just one source, be it methane or carbon dioxide,"
So I'm guessing the author really wanted to say "the bacteria's ability to fix carbon from methane and carbon dioxide is of particular interest".
I'm guessing that the full cycle is the same as the above-ground cycle of photosynthesis (CO2 + H2O + energy => O2 + food) and respiration (O2 + food => CO2 + H2O), except replacing photosynthesis by chemosynthesis.