Frozen lake hides bacteria

16.07.2004

16.07.2004


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Scientists have discovered a community of bacteria that live in the lake under the Icelandic glacier. This lost world can be a model of Mars and a testing ground for the study of its potential inhabitants. In fact, found the first unambiguous example of life in the frozen lake. Another place where theoretically might dwell microorganisms was inhabited by them.

• This bacterium lives many thousands of years under the ice

Icelandic bacteria live in a cool, dark lake, which is located inside the crater of the volcano Grimsvotn (Grimsvotn). Lake depth of up to one hundred meters, is covered by a 300-meter thick layer of ice, but the heat from the volcano located even lower does not give it to freeze completely.

Precisely because scientists know about the existence of ice on the surface of Mars, unaware of the existence of glaciers and there are almost certain to volcanic activity, it is very possible that in the sub-glacial lakes, warmed by volcanic heat, there may be such a life.

Drilling a hole in the ice and taking water samples, the scientists found the bacteria in it, whose genome was very similar to the DNA of cold-loving bacteria that live in the snow. However, the organisms themselves were different, and therefore, they were not listed above in the drilling process, insists Brian Lanoyl from the University of California, one of the authors of the new study.

15.07.2004

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