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Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life
December 11, 2012 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life

These beautiful and other-worldly photographs of ice were taken last year by University of Washington graduate student Jeff Bowman and his professor Jody Deming while they worked on a study combining oceanography, microbiology, and planetary sciences in the central Arctic Ocean as part of the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. Their single focus was the study of frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd already seen the first two photos and gained a totally skewed perspective re: the size of the frost flowers, so seeing the guy standing in the middle of them was startling, to say the least. I thought they were huge like icebergs!
posted by elizardbits at 6:54 AM on December 11, 2012


That is amazingly beautiful. Hope the study puts out some microscopic biology photos so we can see what lives on these.
posted by DiesIrae at 6:55 AM on December 11, 2012


Wow, seriously beautiful! Thanks.
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on December 11, 2012


Those are beautiful. What is that guy standing on? That doesnt seem very safe.
posted by Mister_A at 9:51 AM on December 11, 2012


He's standing on a melt pond, basically a pool of water on top of the still-frozen sea ice.

I'm in a class taught by Jody Deming right now (final tomorrow ugggh), it's really interesting to learn just how many microorganisms live in and around the ice.
posted by edeezy at 12:01 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


On my way here, I had a weird conversation with Emma.
posted by rdc at 1:42 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very cool. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on December 11, 2012


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