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Sub-Ice Antarctic Lake Vida Abounds With Life

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the time-to-make-a-pan-galactic-gargle-blaster dept.

Earth 122

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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As cold as 13C? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104959)

Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

Re:As cold as 13C? (4, Informative)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#42105019)

Yeah, the Wiki-Page talks about -13C (9F) [wikipedia.org] . Typo?

Re:As cold as 13C? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105503)

No, boiling point and freezing points differ based on pressure. While many substances will freeze sooner at lower temperatures water behaves differently and actually lowers it's freezing point at higher pressures. Water can also exist in super cooled and super heated states, meaning it is very likely that liquid water could exist well below freezing.

Re:As cold as 13C? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105531)

I was wondering the same thing. But if it's -13C(elsius), it would be frozen, and thus not "covered by" but rather "part of" an cap of ice. What am I missing? Is it the high salt concentration or something?

Re:As cold as 13C? (2, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#42105575)

Is it the high salt concentration...?

You hit the nail in the head.

Re:As cold as 13C? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106209)

You hit the nacl in the head.

There FTFY.

Re:As cold as 13C? (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#42114403)

I meant typo in the summary, not the Wikipedia-Article.

Re:As cold as 13C? (2)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 2 years ago | (#42106225)

For once that Fahrenheit unit is kinda useful, you could at least use it!
0F is more or less the coldest temperature you can achieve for a liquid mix of salt and water under standard pressure.
So it's entirely possible for a salt lake to have an average temperature of 9F.

Re:As cold as 13C? (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about 2 years ago | (#42110161)

How is that useful? The kind of person that remembers the lowest temperature at which liquid brine can exist under standard pressure should have no problem remembering the number -13 as well.

Re:As cold as 13C? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106457)

what about the mere 27 meters thick ice cap. the article is full of typo's and copied typo's.

Re:As cold as 13C? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42108169)

Does it lack capitalizations at the beginnings of sentences and contain superfluous apostrophes?

Re:As cold as 13C? (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#42105081)

TFA has the correct -13C, which is much more believable as "one of the coldest aquatic environments on Earth". For Americans 13C would be 55.4F, and -13C is 8.6F or 23.4F below freezing.

And for the nerds 13C would be 286.15K whereas -13C is 260.15K

Re:As cold as 13C? (2)

ananyo (2519492) | about 2 years ago | (#42105137)

Apologies - typo in my submission.

And for the nerds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106815)

TFA has the correct -13C, which is much more believable as "one of the coldest aquatic environments on Earth". For Americans 13C would be 55.4F, and -13C is 8.6F or 23.4F below freezing.

And for the nerds 13C would be 286.15K whereas -13C is 260.15K

The REAL nerds would have thought 13 C referred to 3897301930.6 meters per second.

Re:And for the nerds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106963)

The REAL nerds would have thought 13 C referred to 3897301930.6 meters per second.

That would be 13c, not 13C.

Re:And for the nerds... (1)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about 2 years ago | (#42109589)

Or 8.113962545 x 10^19 e ...

Re:As cold as 13C? (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#42107697)

Rrrrrrright... Fahrenheit...
Why not put it in Rankine, Delisle, Newton, Réaumur and Rømer as well? Only the 'Merkens use Fahrenheit for god knows what reason. Maybe they cling onto it so they keep the brains sharp. Converting 3/7 cubic inch to gallon by head is just difficult... And more useful than sudoku's if I may add.
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_conversion_formulas

Game idea... (-1, Offtopic)

staltz (2782655) | about 2 years ago | (#42104987)

A great adventure game idea has been bugging me for some years, related to this. Antarctica is actually a huge ice plateau, at least 1km thick. I imagined a game in which the player discovers that Atlantis is hidden beneath that 1km thick ice. The people there live assuming that the outer world is post-apocalyptic, destroyed by a massive meteor.

Well, if someday I develop this game, you know the spoilers already.

Re:Game idea... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#42105049)

Isn't that the plot of at least a Stargate-Episode, a movie and (I think) an Outer Limits Episode?!

Re:Game idea... (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42105169)

And a plotline from that shitty Patrick Duffy show from the 70's, and probably a few Aquaman retcons too.

Re:Game idea... (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42105375)

Dallas?

Re:Game idea... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42105395)

There are few new things imagined by anyone. Most stories are rehashes of old stories, often mashups of all stories. How many versions of Romeo and Juliet are there, only with different names, different wordings, different characters' characteristics, time settings, etc?

Re:Game idea... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42106035)

I thought rehashing At the Mountains of Madness as Prometheus was pretty ballsy.

Re:Game idea... (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#42105581)

Stargate? Kind of but no. There were ruins but Atlantis had been moved long ago and nobody lived there and nobody thought the world outside the ice was destroyed.

Re:Game idea... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#42105721)

No, I can remember an episode where SG-1 is trapped (and a little bit brainwashed) to work in a big city underneath a thick layer of ice. Told that they would be the only survivors of an apocalypse on the surface...which was a lie, of course. Star Trek Voyager did a copy of the episode where the crew was working in a big city. Can't find the episode right now, though.

Re:Game idea... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42105791)

You're both right. There were at least 2 episodes regarding the former site of Atlantis in Antarctica, and there was also the slave labor episode. I could look them up, but they're boxed away at the moment.

Re:Game idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42108759)

It was also the plot of the X-Files movie. (Well, if you allow "Antarctica" to actually be a giant flying saucer buried under the ice.)

Re:Game idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105365)

Pretty sure that's the basis of a Clive Cussler novel too.

first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104999)

first

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105623)

Not even close, junior.

13 C is not cold (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105003)

And that's because the article says -13C and not +13C which is quite a bit of difference. It'd be cool if the editors actually did their editing work ;-)

Re:13 C is not cold (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105263)

"And that's because the article says -13C and not +13C which is quite a bit of difference. It'd be cool if the editors actually did their editing work ;-)"

It would indeed be cooler.

Re:13 C is not cold (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#42105651)

And that's because the article says -13C and not +13C which is quite a bit of difference. It'd be cool if the editors actually did their editing work ;-)

I don't know. 13C is already a little cool in some parts of the country.

Re:13 C is not cold (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 2 years ago | (#42106637)

And that's because the article says -13C and not +13C which is quite a bit of difference. It'd be cool if the editors actually did their editing work ;-)

I don't know. 13C is already a little cool in some parts of the country.

In late November? Maybe in Texas or Arizona, but here in northwestern Missouri, it's closer to 13F than 13C.

Missing a minus sign in the summary (2)

NothingWasAvailable (2594547) | about 2 years ago | (#42105021)

"... and at -13 C is one of the coldest aquatic environments ..."

Re:Missing a minus sign in the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106993)

'abounds' is also a bit misleading.

'to possess in such abundance as to be characterized by' for a bit of bacteria-slime?

In other words (2)

jovius (974690) | about 2 years ago | (#42105083)

Lake Vida was cool before it was hot.

Re:In other words (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#42105637)

A lake called Vida [google.com] is full of life. What's the big fucking deal?

And Nazi Bases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105091)

Nazi bases in the arctic and alien wars.

Not quite... (3, Insightful)

Troyusrex (2446430) | about 2 years ago | (#42105109)

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.

So life on other planets is dependent on our knowledge? Sounds doubtful. It may increase our reason to believe that such life is possible, but not whether that life actual exists/existed.

Re:Not quite... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105187)

Maybe you're not clear on the concept of probability. This is used to reason about things of which we lack certain knowledge.
Life on other planets is not dependent on our knowledge, but the probability of life on other planets definitely is.
A clue that probability is being referred to is the use of the phrase "increases the chances".

Probability abuse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105543)

When we don't know how likely something is, we assume probability of 50%.

So, there is a 50% probability that there are horses somewhere else in the universe. Similarly there is a 50% probability of cows. Carry this on for as many farm animals as you can think of. That means it is a statistical certainty that there is at least one planet somewhere that has at least one farm animal because:

p = 1 - .5 x .5 x .5 ....

Re:Probability abuse (5, Funny)

INeededALogin (771371) | about 2 years ago | (#42105695)

That means it is a statistical certainty that there is at least one planet somewhere that has at least one farm animal because: p = 1 - .5 x .5 x .5 ....

Simple mathematics tells us that the population of the Universe must be zero. Why? Well given that the volume of the universe is infinite there must be an infinite number of worlds. But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are. Any finite number divided by infinity is as close to zero as makes no odds, therefore we can round the average population of the Universe to zero, and so the total population must be zero.

Thank you Douglas Adams:-)

Re:Probability abuse (0)

vikingpower (768921) | about 2 years ago | (#42105741)

LOLz. This one provoked first the crack of a smile, then a wide grin, and finally a hearty laugh with me. Each phrase, starting with "Well given that ..." contains so many crap assumptions - that is exactly what makes it so funny.

Re:Probability abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106279)

And if he hadn't referenced HHGTTG, fucking idiots on this site would have been foaming at the mouth going ape shit to point out why his logic is flawed. People need to get a grip.

Re:Probability abuse (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#42106419)

"First, assume we start with a spherical chicken..."

Re:Probability abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106845)

... and given that it takes 1/2 a minute for 1/2 a chicken to lay 1/2 an egg... we see that it requires at least 1:01 minutes for a Slashdotter to post one.

Re:Probability abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42107005)

There can still be an infinite amount of planets with life. Please refer to the difference between the number of integers and the number of real numbers.

Re:Probability abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42107791)

A fraction of an infinite number is also an infinite number. For example, one half of all numbers are even. There are an infinite number of even numbers.

Re:Not quite... (1)

mevets (322601) | about 2 years ago | (#42105563)

Wow, a double whoosh. Awesome.

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106053)

Hi guys. Looks like you went right by each other.

I think the magic words you're both looking for are: "..our estimate of the probability.."

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42107553)

Life on other planets is not dependent on our knowledge, but the probability of life on other planets definitely is.

The probability of life on other planets are not dependent on our knowledge. Probability is cold heartless mindless math. The probability that a loaded dice will show 6 migth be 1, i.e. a certainty. It's still 1 wheather you know it's a loaded dice or not.

If you wan't to place a bet though, I'd say the odds tumbled.

Re:Not quite... (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about 2 years ago | (#42110253)

I'll just link the raven paradox [wikipedia.org] here in order to maximize the confusion.

Re:Not quite... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#42115959)

Sometimes smart people can be really stupid. The paradox only exists in not understanding logic. Each link in a logic chain is dependent on the other links. Logic doesn't speak to truth but to relativity. Sometimes people confuse reality (well, actually, their subjective reality) with thought games... usually people who spend all their time in their mind. :)

Re:Not quite... (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about 2 years ago | (#42120131)

What?

Logicians and mathematicians all agree that the paradox is true. Observing a non-black non-raven is positive evidence that all ravens are black. The "resolution of the paradox" lies either in arguing that this positive evidence increases the probability of all ravens being black by an extremely tiny amount, or in arguing that we only see the situation as paradoxical because we already know the outcome.

Indeed, one finds the same situation in modern science: the only observed scalar particle is the Higgs boson. If we then observe a new elementary particle (say e.g. a sup quark, the supersymmetric partner of the up quark) which is not a scalar particle, this is further evidence that the Higgs is the only scalar particle.

Re:Not quite... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#42124317)

A non-black non-raven is proof of absolutely nothing unless you've already established a rule that all ravens are black. It's relative. There is no paradox when you've implicitly created the rules.

They just seem to be baffled by the fact that creating a rule, i.e., creating a description/definition, has implications. The problem with logic is that it works with givens, and in reality there are no givens, we just have workable descriptions. Godel-Escher-Bach, rinse & repeat.

Re:Not quite... (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#42105659)

Until we actually observe it alien life is in an unfortunate state of both existing and not existing. Showing it is possible for it to exist gives us a reason to look for it which gives us a chance to observe it so it can finally exist for real. Hopefully nobody observes us before we get there or if they do then hopefully they find us actually existing otherwise we will not exist and so we can't actually go observe alien life and it will be stuck both existing and not existing forever. Then again, it may be that whenever we get a chance to observe alien life the universe will split into two universes, one with it existing and one with it not existing. Likewise when the aliens observe us two universes will result however we will only exist in one of them. Ideally we will observe aliens and they will observe us at the same time causing a loop where universes will keep splitting off because where we exist there are two universes but we cannot observe the aliens in the one where we do not exist but we can in the one where we do and they can observe us where they exist but not in the other. Thus.. with infinite universes continually splitting we will all exist in one form or another forever, when we die in a universe it is ok because we still exist in others. One thing thing this post does prove for certain... at least.. if you have chose to read this far and I do exist and Slashdot does exist and so this post does exist is that bullshit exists.

Re:Not quite... (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42106519)

So.. the aliens are cats?

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42109047)

The fact that life exists in very cold lake IS relevant to whether life exists in other similar environments, in the sense that it reveals something about where life can be found in this universe. That fact and its implications do not depend in any way on whether we know the fact or not.

Our discovery of the fact only affects our predictions about life in other environments, probably by changing them, and perhaps by making them more accurate.

Excuse me? This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105131)

This has been a known fact for decades. I don't understand how this is news.

Re:Excuse me? This is news? (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about 2 years ago | (#42105163)

They only drilled into it this year. This couldn't have been known for years. its' been separated from the normal biome for hundreds if not millions of years.

Re:Excuse me? This is news? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 2 years ago | (#42105179)

EDIT: ...hundreds of thousands if not millions... Also read as several interglacials.

Re:Excuse me? This is news? (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about 2 years ago | (#42105191)

EDIT: Never mind. I got this confused with Vostok, which actually has been drilled into this year. First reports are that Vostok is devoid of life, but that is only on initial inspection. I thought this article as a correction to that.

Meanwhile, Lake Vita reeks of death (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42105145)

Sorry, Sony. You know it's true.

Europa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105153)

Attempt no landing there, ya douchebag!

Re:Europa? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#42105325)

...of mostly water

HAL said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105313)

All these worlds
are yours except
EUROPA
attempt no
landing there

oh noes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105399)

let's hope they won't dig up any shoggoths...

Re:oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105479)

let's hope they won't dig up any shoggoths...

Exactly what comes to mind every time I read about this Antarctic lake.

summary Caveat (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#42105401)

It in no way increases the chance of finding life in those places.
It merely increases our perception of the chance of finding life.

Re:summary Caveat (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 2 years ago | (#42105645)

Kind of. The presence of life indicates that life is more likely to be present in cold lakes than if there were no life down there. "Chance" was a poor choice of words. "Likelihood" is better. "Chance" indicates that someone rolls the dice when we get there, and the presence or absence of life hangs on the dice roll. And lets not get into macroscopic quantum waveform collapse... :)

Didn't start there though (4, Insightful)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#42105449)

Antarctica wasn't always icebound. Once it would have been filled with life until plate tectonics moved it to the south pole. So there is a significant difference to the likes of Mars and moons orbiting the gas giants in that life under the ice first evolved under different conditions somewhere else and has adapted to the changing conditions as the land iced over.

Re:Didn't start there though (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42105595)

Mars wasn't always a frigid desert. Once it could have been filled with life and liquid water until it drifted further from the sun.

Same goes for moons, but substitute closer to the sun with more geologic activity or greater tidal stresses... either of which could have caused significantly different environments than they have now.

Re:Didn't start there though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105781)

Mars's environment didn't change because its orbit moved, it changed because it's core cooled down (being smaller than earth, it cooled faster), which caused it to lose its magnetic field, and then eventually its atmosphere. Mars is what you get when you have basically zero greenhouse effect - it'd be almost exactly the same situation if Mars was as close to the sun as the Earth. (Just as Venus would be just as hot, were it further away... that's what you get for having too *much* greenhouse effect)

Re:Didn't start there though (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42105879)

Regardless of the method that caused climate change, the point still stands that Mars could have easily had a very different climate than it does today... so life could have had a similar environmental opportunity on Mars as it had on Earth (although maybe millions of years apart). That life could have then adapted in the same manner as the featured life in Antarctica.

Re:Didn't start there though (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#42105817)

Granted, but the point I was trying to make is that we know there was definitely life on the Antarctic continent before it became glaciated. Regardless of what environmental changes the other places might have gone through over the millennia, we cannot yet be certain that they ever supported life.

Maybe Curiosity will find evidence on Mars but it's going to be a long time until that question can be answered for the gas giant moons.

Re:Didn't start there though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106453)

It is possible that we will send a mission within a decade. After all, the idea of red dragon is to make those kinds of missions cheap enough to do.

Want is not relevant (1, Interesting)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 2 years ago | (#42105583)

“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? (2, Interesting)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Only 2800 years? (3, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42105845)

It just said sealed for 2800 years... nothing about being in a warmer climate then. There's any number of things that could have caused it to be unsealed (which is not the same thing is completely open) up until ~2800 years ago. Maybe there was a subsurface channel connecting it to the ocean, maybe there was a chasm leading from the surface, maybe a meteor strike penetrated the cap.

Re:Only 2800 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42107665)

Sealed for at least 2800 years. As far as I can tell from wikipedia's article, in 2002 microbes were recovered and reanimated from core samples of the ice cap and these microbes/samples were ~2800 years old. The cap could be older if these samples weren't from the oldest part, I did not see a description of it's age/geology/origin.

I'm curious about the seasonal inflows and outflows [wikipedia.org] , it doesn't explicitly state where these are flowing. My first thought was they were underground and interacting with the brine, but more likely they're on the surface and refreeze as part of the ice cap.

Re:Only 2800 years? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105895)

Bacteria evolve very quickly. 2800 years is billions of generations for life in that lake.

Re:Only 2800 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106455)

We are currently in an intergalcial period, a warm period of 12,000 years (occasionally 24,000) that crop up every 40,000-120,000 years or so. This one is called the Holocene. The warmest period of the Holocene was 8,000 years ago, and the coolest points were about 1660 and 1850. We are 11,500 years into this interglacial.

A quick overview of the Milankovitch Cycles (the shift of the climate cycles,) would put that right about the time of the end of the Subboreal and the Subaltlantic periods (our current/last 2500 years) where there was a distinct downstep in temperature. This is all normal for the Interglacials, a strong uptick in temperature, then decreasing temperatures for 10,000-12,000 years, then a decrease back down to the glacial norm of the Pleistocene.

It looks like we have 500 to maybe 1,000 years (unless this is a double interglacial) and then we return to a Glacial Period, like the Wisconsin Glacial that had all of Canada and most of North American covered, and even Hawaii had Glaciers.

Re:Only 2800 years? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#42107569)

Some of the information I've heard indicates this (the Holocene) is probably one of the long (24,000 year) interglacials so it might be another 10,000+ years before the next glacial starts. However, the CO2 we've added to the atmosphere is probably causing enough warming that the next glacial is probably postponed indefinitely.

Re:Only 2800 years? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#42107469)

Was there a warming trend back then even bigger than the one today?

Yes. Maps from even more recent times show the coastlines of Antarctica that we can only recently confirm (through the ice sheets) with modern technology.

Much of that three miles of ice on Antarctica was distributed throughout the climate. The Sahara wasn't a monstrous desert, for instance, and the Middle East was a font of life and commerce.

But the real modern concern is property values in Western Europe, which are 'propped up' by the Gulf Stream. The present condition of the thermohaline cycle and the Arctic circulation keeps the heat from the Gulf of Mexico region flowing up to areas north of Quebec on that side of the Atlantic so they can grow fancy grapes and farm wheat instead of peat. In a warming climate, there's a very real chance that the cycle will change and the habitation of Northern Europe will be seen as a temporary feature.

But the same people who hold much of that property wealth also stand to benefit from a power grab, even if it has little chance of changing the outcome. So, either way they win, so full speed ahead with the hellfire and damnation! (meanwhile actual scientific people want to move on to the next generation of clean power - 'amazingly enough' they block that)

The real 'climate deniers' are those who refuse to ask 'cui bono?'.

Re:Only 2800 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42108067)

According to http://hypertextbook.com/facts/ZhenHuang.shtml the Antarctic plate moves about 2.05cm/yr. 2.05 centimeters * 2800 = 57.4 meters, or 188.32 feet (approximately).

Good guess.

Water = Life (4, Insightful)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#42105893)

Everywhere we've looked on this planet, including sulfuric volcanic fissures miles under the surface [nationalgeographic.com] , where there's water we've found life. Clearly this planet is infested with it.

At some point finding life in a weird new liquid water-based environment on Earth has to cease being news.

Re:Water = Life (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Water = Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42107439)

Exactly. For example, there is the relatively recent discovery of an organism which can survive the temperatures used in a autoclave. (For those of you who don't know, autoclaves are used to sterilize surgical instruments. It heats things up until they reach a certain temperature, chosen because it was believed that nothing could survive at that temperature, because DNA is known to break down due to heat below that point.)

Re:Water = Life (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#42108001)

So for you "news" is anything that would have been surprising 30 years ago?

Slashdot is a great place for you then.

Re:Water = Life (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about 2 years ago | (#42108459)

There are weather events all the time on earth, yet weather events are in the news every single day. Do complain about meteorologists as well?

No one said this was a shocking, groundbreaking discovery, only that it adds to what we already know.

(Also, I'm a fan juvenile dicks making useless troll comments, so people like you have made Slashdot a fabulous place for me. Thanks!)

Re:Water = Life (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#42108955)

Not everywhere. Lake Vostok so far appears to be dead.

Re:Water = Life (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#42110577)

Yes, for my money, that's the bit in there that is news (although the language used indicates they still expect to find life there one day).

Re:Water = Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42110547)

Ah, the sulfur reducing bacteria and their friends the archaea, likely some of the oldest species on the planet. They love the taste of iron.

As a portuguese... (1)

closer2it (926190) | about 2 years ago | (#42106353)

The summary title seems to come from the Department of Redundancy Department. :)

Increasing chances (1)

djh2400 (1362925) | about 2 years ago | (#42107541)

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.

Isn't the find kind of irrelevant to the chances that life exists elsewhere? It's like saying that, if I lose two socks and find one 3 years later, then I therefore have an increased chance of finding the second sock sooner rather than later. The first has nothing to do with the second. The existence of life in one place on Earth has little to do with chances of finding life elsewhere, since they're two independent events.

I Wouldn't Count On It (2)

sudon't (580652) | about 2 years ago | (#42107835)

"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."

Yeah, I wouldn't count on that. Life may be able to adapt to extreme environments, but I have serious doubts about it "spawning" in permanent sub-freezing conditions. Nevermind that we still have no idea whether or not life is unique to Earth. Let's not forget that the Antarctic once straddled the equator, giving life a chance to take hold, then adapt over its slow southward slide to the pole. And what djh2400 said.

This isn't just about cold water (1)

petsounds (593538) | about 2 years ago | (#42109057)

The BBC article [bbc.co.uk] goes into more detail:

Lake Vida, the largest of several unique lakes found in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, contains no oxygen, is acidic, mostly frozen and possesses the highest nitrous oxide levels of any natural water body on Earth.

The abundance of different chemical compounds present in the lake led the researchers to conclude that chemical reactions were taking place between the brine and the underlying iron-rich sediments, producing the nitrous oxide and molecular hydrogen.
[...]
"It's plausible that a life-supporting energy source exists solely from the chemical reaction between anoxic salt water and the rock," said co-author Dr Christian Fritsen, also from the DRI.

So this is not just a deep freeze; this is an extremely hostile environment for life, even by our current understanding of extremophiles.

And this is why we need to be sending missions to the under-ice oceans of Europa or the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan, not yet another rock-hunting mission.

The find doesn't increase chances.... (1)

okmijnuhb (575581) | about 2 years ago | (#42112845)

"The find increases the chances that life may exist"...
I don't think any find here on Earth can increase chances anywhere else.
The chances of life existing elsewhere is unchanging. Regardless of what humans discover.
I think it just increases the hope of those wishing for the discovery life on other planets.
I personally think it's a false hope, although I'd be excited to be proven wrong.
I also think it's dangerous to rely on a belief in life on other planets, as far as we know life here is rare and unique, and the idea that we can trash this planet, and escape to other worlds as a plausible scenario, or that we can erase all or some life here, and believe that life still exists elsewhere, stands a chance of being tragically incorrect.
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