Twenty meters beneath the frosty surface of Antarctica lies Lake Vida, a thin pool of salty slush that, against all expectations, teems with life.
The presence of life under such extreme conditions is an assemblage of amazings. The temperature of the pool is -13°C. The water is 19% salt, over five times the concentration of the ocean.
And most incredibly, an ice cap has sealed off the lake from the rest of the earth’s ecosystem for almost 3000 years. All light is blocked by 20 meters of dirty snow. Organic matter – otherwise known as “food” – can neither enter nor leave.
Without food or energy, how do its resident microbes survive? Continue reading