Coach House Geography

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Antarctic Lake Hides Bizarre Ecosystem

Posted by Lindy on April 24, 2011


Bacteria slowly built the mounds, known as stromatolites, layer by layer on Lake Untersee’s bottom. The lumps, which look like over-sized traffic cones, resemble similar structures that first appeared billions of years ago and remain in fossil form as one of the oldest widespread records of ancient life.

Researchers study fossil stromatolites, from 3 billion years ago or more, to understand how life got a foothold on Earth. Today, stromatolites actively form in only a few spots in the ocean, like off the western coast of Australia and in the Bahamas. They also grow in some freshwater environments, like super-salty lakes high in the Andes and in a few of Antarctica’s other freshwater lakes. But scientists have never seen anything like the size and shape of Untersee’s stromatolites

http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctic-lake-stromatolites-110414.html

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