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Earth Science

Sub-Ice Antarctic Lake Vida Abounds With Life 122

Posted by timothy
from the time-to-make-a-pan-galactic-gargle-blaster dept.
ananyo writes "It is permanently covered by a massive cap of ice up to 27 metres thick, is six times saltier than normal sea water, and at 13 C is one of the coldest aquatic environments on Earth — yet Lake Vida in Antarctica teems with life. Scientists drilling into the lake have found abundant and diverse bacteria, including at least one new phylum (full paper (PDF)). The find increases the chances that life may exist (or have once existed) on planets such as Mars and moons such as Jupiter's Europa."
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Sub-Ice Antarctic Lake Vida Abounds With Life

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  • Want is not relevant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @11:15AM (#42105583) Homepage Journal

    “It is quite remarkable that something wants to live in that cold, dark and salty environment at all.”

    It's not like the life there has a choice of where to live.

  • Only 2800 years? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by morgauxo (974071) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @11:33AM (#42105763)
    2800 years doesn't sound like a very long time for this lake to have had it's ice cap. 2800 years ago is still well within the range of human history! It's nothing to geology! So.. how was the lake uncapped 2800 years ago? I know that Antarctica was in a warmer, higher latitude before it moved to the polar region but 2800 years of continental drift should be what, between 100 and 1000 feet? Was there a warming trend back then even bigger than the one today? I wouldn't think there would be all that much evolution even during that short a time so if so the species we know survived it. That revelation sounds like a global warming denier field day! I'm not trying to hand them any arguments, I'm only trying to ask the question. What happened ~2800 years ago?
  • Re:Water = Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:49PM (#42106511)
    Actually, there is a good reason why this is news. It means that there is greater variety in life than was expected. And yes, 30 years ago, when I got my degree in microbiology, nobody would have thought that life could exist in 100C+ or in 0C- water. It really is remarkable that we are finding these extremaphiles in these locations.

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