NASA Discovers Arctic Algae Bloom

Phenomenon thought to be impossible

González Videla Station in Antarctica

Iceberg near Chile's González Videla Station in Antarctica     Photo: Liam Q/flickr

NASA scientists who discovered a huge algae bloom underneath the Arctic ice sheet are calling the find "as unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of the desert." Researchers from the agency's ICESCAPE announced Thursday that the project had discovered the cloud of microscopic phytoplankton below a layer of ice in the Chukchi Sea, north of Siberia. "If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible" said Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University, head of the expedition. The appearance of the organisms, once thought to live only in sunlit open ocean, is evidence that Arctic sea is rapidly thinning.

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