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Working with filtered (0.2 μm), melted ice from depths down to 2,750 m in the ice core from Vostok Station (east Antarctica), Abyzov and correlated with dust concentration, which suggests that they were deposited in the snow preferentially during glacial periods when the flux of dust and the wind speed were greatest.
In addition, the authors used consumption of a C-labeled protein hydrolysate as a crude measure of cell viability.
Recently, using a micrometer-size laser beam, Fukazawa Microbial habitat consisting of solid ice grains (approximated by truncated semiregular octahedra) bounded by liquid veins (not to scale).
Two microbes are depicted as living in the vein of diameter dvein surrounding a single grain of diameter D.
In the 4 × 10It seems to be a fundamental law that, wherever microbial life can survive, it will be found to exist (1).
Microbes are amazingly hardy; viable specimens of a spore-forming bacillus and of an extremely halophilic bacterium have been found in an inclusion in a 250-million-year-old salt crystal.† A bacterial spore has been revived, cultured, and identified from 40-million-year-old amber (2).
Microbes, some of which may be viable, have been found in ice cores drilled at Vostok Station at depths down to ≈3,600 m, close to the surface of the huge subglacial Lake Vostok. The upper 3,500 m comprises glacial ice containing traces of nutrients of aeolian origin including sulfuric acid, nitric acid, methanosulfonic acid (MSA), formic acid, sea salts, and mineral grains.
Ice below ≈3,500 m comprises refrozen water from Lake Vostok, accreted to the bottom of the glacial ice.
Without direct measurements, this hypothesis is only speculation.The high dc electrical conductivity of cold polar ice had long provided indirect evidence for aqueous acid solutions concentrated in veins (16).Aqueous veins at the linear junctions of three ice crystals in temperate glaciers are now known to form a continuous network, and laboratory experiments have clarified their geometry (17).Microbial life has been found at depths down to several kilometers in the earth's crust (3), and viable bacterial populations have been discovered at Pacific Ocean sites to depths of 500 m in sediments (4).Bacteria can grow and reproduce at temperatures ≤0°C in high-altitude cloud droplets (5).