Lake Vostok

Not by Fire but by Ice



  29 March 2006      


Heat-loving bug found deep beneath the ice 
in an Antarctic lake  
provides evidence of underwater volcanic activity

30 Mar 06 – Russian and French researchers have found traces of a heat-loving bacterium that may live beneath Lake Vostok, a frozen lake in Antarctica covered by more than 3km (1.8 miles) of ice.

The bacterium, which usually lives in temperatures of 50-60C, suggests Lake Vostok may have some kind of hydrothermal heating system or vents its base, making it more active than anyone had realized.   

Hundreds of lakes exist beneath the thick Antarctic ice sheet, but with an area of 14,000 sq km (about the extent of Lake Ontario ), Vostok is by far the largest. 

We expected to find life adapted to a cold environment but instead we found exactly the opposite," said Jean-Robert Petit of the Laboratory of Glaciology and Geophysics of the Environment in Grenoble , France .

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No wonder the ice is melting!



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