Saturday, June 20, 2009

Earth’s Highest Microbial Life Found Around Volcanic Vents in Atacama

A team of scientists has found that the highest microbial life on Earth appears to be in South America, around vents near the rim of the Socompa volcano, which sits on the border between Argentina and Chile in the Atacama Desert.

The newfound creatures, at a height of almost 19,850 feet (6,050 meters) above sea level, are the highest-altitude microbial communities known, Steve Schmidt, a microbiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US, told National Geographic News.

Schmidt and his team usually study the places where glaciers have retreated, to discover which microbes move in first to colonise the newly exposed soil.


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