Skip to main content

Just when you think you know what's going on, this crazy old Earth pulls the curtain back a teeny little bit more, revealing something new and astonishing.

Archaeologists studying shipwrecks in Thunder Bay in Lake Huron discovered the water had...[key spooky music]..."unusually high levels of conductivity." * (see bottom of article for explanation thanks to Kos user Ernest T Bass)

Scientists Bopaiah A. Biddanda of Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (in Muskegon, I might add) and Steven A. Ruberg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes lab were called in to investigate. They discovered sink holes with bizarre, anaerobic (no oxygen) eco-systems where expanses of exotic archaebacteria thrive.

Sink holes in the Thunder Bay region of Michigan, several hundred feet deep, are exposed to the ancient, mineral rich Paleozoic era bedrock, where the minerals leech out into the water creating a very dense, mineral rich, oxygen free underwater eco-system.

“You have this pristine fresh water lake that has what amounts to materials from 400 million years ago … being pushed out into the lake,” said Steven A. Ruberg,

Similar to the undersea vents, these sink holes harbor odd bacteria adapted to extreme environments. They grow in large "pony-tails" or in purple towers along the bottom.

The Lake Huron sinkholes are dominated by brilliant purple mats of cyanobacteria -- cousins of microbes found on the bottom of permanently ice-covered lakes in Antarctica -- and pallid, floating pony-tails of other microbial life, according to the journal article.

The saltwater venting out of the sinkholes is hostile to most life forms because it lacks oxygen, the scientists said in the article..


Video found at the Annis Water Resources Institute site on the Sinkhole Ecosystem Project page.

For those out there who feel Lake Huron is the unsung third wheel of the largest Great Lakes, this is it, baby. This is pretty darn cool. Researchers believe these sink holes might also be found in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but so far that's just a hypothesis. Right now they appear to be unique to Lake Huron.

And they've been right under our noses this whole time, and not even that far from shore, looks like. The Great Lakes have been sorely un-explored and under-researched for too long. They've just been part of the scenery, used to transport goods and raise fish for eating. It's discoveries like this that should make people sit up and pay attention to the wonders in their back yards...and more importantly, it's discoveries like this that should warrant greater interest in researching the Great Lakes and fanning the urgency of Great Lakes preservation efforts and funding.

Because it's just so frickin' COOL.

Additional reading thanks to Kos user Ellicatt

Life at the very bottom

In this case, scientists wonder if the microbes may be truly primordial. Researchers found that the purple bacteria can photosynthesize as easily in sulfur-rich water as they can in fresh water, an ability suited to the dim and sulfur-rich conditions of shallow, primeval seas that existed billions of years ago.
Cameras on the submersible recorded something divers had seen and talked about for years—vast purple carpets mottling the bottom of the shallower sinkholes, where dim surface light still reaches. In deeper, darker water, the submersible found white microbial mats similar to those around deep-ocean heat vents.

One thing the researchers tried to figure out was what on Earth those purple colonies were. They found that the single-celled microbes banded together to form filaments that in turn joined to form mats. When debris fell on the mats, the bacteria got on top of it by crawling toward the light. The sticky ooze could climb a pebble in a laboratory water tank in a few hours, and crawled up the sides of beakers.

Meaning of "unusually high levels of conductivity"
Kos handle Ernest T Bass

Unusually high levels of conductivity doesn't mean packed with conductive minerals (such as, I suppose, small particles of iron or copper?).

Electrical conductivity is a measure of the dissolved ion concentration of water.  The more ions dissolved in water, the more easily it conducts electricity.  Electrical conductivity is often used in field studies because it is very easy to measure and the meters used to measure it are durable and relatively inexpensive.  

Electrical conductivity (EC) is usually expressed as specific conductance, which is EC normalized to 25 degrees Celsius (because conductivity is temperature dependent).

Electrical conductivity used to be expressed in terms of millimhos per cubic centimeter (mho being the reverse of ohm, the measure of electrical resistance), but more recently is being expressed as millisiemens per cubic centimeter, in honor of electrical pioneer Ernst Werner von Siemens, namesake of the German industrial conglomerate.

< /hydroogist >

In short, what that means, is this deeper water, by showing higher electrical conductivity, is more saline than the fresher water above.  Not surprising, as its density would be greater as well.

Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 05:39 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Bob Johnson, Jake McIntyre, Velocity, Alumbrados, frey60, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Doug in SF, Olds88, buffalo soldier, Joe Bob, Alma, Marek, Athena, raboof, PrahaPartizan, miriam, Sean Robertson, vtdem, Phoenix Woman, nolalily, Odysseus, SLKRR, grollen, ogre, decembersue, SarahLee, teacherken, Timaeus, DawnG, Trendar, gogol, glitterscale, Raybin, 2pt5cats, Nina Katarina, pHunbalanced, Powered Grace, maynard, saraswati, madmsf, ScientistMom in NY, stumpy, RunawayRose, Bob Love, MikeHickerson, bosdcla14, surfbird007, Robespierrette, Sprinkles, karlpk, dengre, Yoshimi, tommurphy, krwada, Debby, MsSpentyouth, meg, LuvSet, KateG, eeff, willyr, dkistner, marjo, BenGoshi, Norwegian Chef, MarkInSanFran, mataliandy, exNYinTX, zeitshabba, bigforkgirl, jackspace, legadillo, Mr Teem, TheMomCat, concernedamerican, joynow, bronte17, missLotus, medaka, powerplay40, indybend, Dazy, cskendrick, wonkydonkey, susakinovember, MD patriot, Loquatrix, Agathena, CatFelyne, SkiBumLee, mkfarkus, barath, Aquarius40, luaptifer, chimpy, khloemi, javelina, oslo, jbeach, Dem in Knoxville, exconservative, jennifree2bme, fumie, antirove, high uintas, hopeful, celticshel, OldYellerDog, SensibleShoes, wader, DemocracyLover in NYC, baad, Oke, hhex65, Dube, psnyder, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, Miss Jones, DeadB0y, Urizen, Sycamore, MA Liberal, grannyhelen, ssundstoel, lezlie, rflowers, westyny, PaulVA, desmoinesdem, texasmom, Ophelia, homo neurotic, Chirons apprentice, defluxion10, houyhnhnm, nika7k, snakelass, The Termite, papercut, tombstone, RebeccaG, dufffbeer, lcrp, LR Frederick, fritzrth, walkshills, One bite at a time, PerfectStormer, frostieb, horatio in il, AllisonInSeattle, zerelda, mungley, smartgo, WisVoter, parryander, tomjones, Gary J, JayDean, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, marvyt, jcrit, poemworld, xyz, rickeagle, Schwede, eve, Pozzo, Daedal22, boran2, Sybil Liberty, Timroff, BDA in VA, environmentalist, greeseyparrot, oortdust, Tirge Caps, skippythebox, Big Tex, luvmovies2000, la motocycliste, Fabian, tergenev, humphrey, Leslie H, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, beagledad, pattyp, capelza, red clay dem, NoMoreLies, el dorado gal, Five of Diamonds, awesley, Freakinout daily, JaciCee, subtropolis, ek hornbeck, OpherGopher, PBen, Superpole, offred, Alice Venturi, BCO gal, ccasas, ChemBob, stitchmd, chidmf, YucatanMan, yogishan, Laurence Lewis, ratzo, Annalize5, mojo workin, cfk, sallyfallschurch, Frank Palmer, aaraujo, LABobsterofAnaheim, GreyHawk, blue jersey mom, govib, evilpenguin, kaliope, buddhafrogsaypeace, Digginthislife, minidriver, cerulean, Ginny in CO, FightTheFuture, neroden, dsteffen, bunsk, Cory Bantic, Team Slacker, Detroit Mark, JanL, empathy, Snud, Land of Enchantment, RainyDay, hatdog, fhcec, bently, xaxnar, begone, aimzzz, Audio Guy, third Party please, pico, juliewolf, trashablanca, snazzzybird, BachFan, danmac, Thundergod, Do Tell, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, vigilant meerkat, 417els, alefnot, ripple, tung sol, quotemstr, andydoubtless, Kimball Cross, CDNNTX, fat old man, Ellicatt, borkitekt, Dvalkure, Prognosticator, ruleoflaw, KenBee, ccmask, Im with Rosey, raincrow, greenearth, hideinplainsight, SherriG, Elvis meets Nixon, tecampbell, birdbrain64, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, StrayCat, Lashe, 4Freedom, Dissentinator, gatorcog, arbiter, imabluemerkin, tapestry, NC Dem, real world chick, FireCrow, JVolvo, plf515, CTLiberal, bleeding heart, el cid, MarciaJ720, max stirner, antboy, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, bonesy, livjack, Turbonerd, BlueMississippi, engine17, profh, fezzik, kkbDIA, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, buckeye blue, means are the ends, kurt, kurious, CharlieHipHop, Intercaust, Hedwig, AllanTBG, markthshark, Nulwee, Pandoras Box, Aaa T Tudeattack, pippintook, ammasdarling, bigchin, old wobbly, fisheye, lightfoot, Serpents Choice, gardenkitty, Cronesense, JFinNe, Loudoun County Dem, dmh44, Cottagerose, Purplepeople, milkbone, moodyinsavannah, jetskreemr, WeBetterWinThisTime, NovatoBon, FishOutofWater, DvCM, yowsta, kath25, profmom, biggus, terabytes, Unbozo, Democrat, Uwaine, Strabo, bnasley, College Progressive, Seneca Doane, MI Sooner, jayden, GMFORD, jedennis, misreal, ubertar, steamkettle, chicago jeff, Singing Lizard, vbdietz, MrMichaelMT, SeaTurtle, millwood, Moderation, gchaucer2, Rumarhazzit, idahojim, Dar Nirron, ImpeachKingBushII, JML9999, BasharH, cacamp, Mulkum, Terra Mystica, TomP, Empower Ink, chicago minx, gizmo59, rmonroe, MKinTN, Shane Hensinger, revm3up, JeffW, DraftChickenHawks, cottondon, greenalley, NotGeorgeWill, weegeeone, wayoutinthestix, MikePhoenix, ScottyUrb, Johnny Nucleo, brooklynbadboy, Laughing Vergil, John Barleycorn, lineatus, Judeling, Akonitum, DCBlue, monkeybrainpolitics, Calamity Jean, Lujane, mayim, happymisanthropy, Jake Williams, pickandshovel, bluesheep, Quicksilver2723, rubine, mofembot, luckylizard, Piren, xysea, BYw, eddienutzak, A Man Called Gloom, dont think, Guadalupe59, cafreema, Simply Agrestic, cactusflinthead, rhutcheson, gsenski, humanunit, legendmn, LaFeminista, KingCranky, wv voice of reason, SciMathGuy, multilee, Ran3dy, cybrestrike, arainsb123, Glacial Erratic, Texanomaly, WSComn, emboyo, litoralis, Scott Wooledge, Magick Maven, juca, socalmonk, holger smed, Skeptical Bastard, senex, bsmechanic, be the change you seek, Nebraskablue, imchange, notrouble, Partisan Progressive, velvet blasphemy, jodygirl, BlueInRedCincy, Yalin, Hopeful Monster, newyorknewyork, ProgressiveTokyo, zbbrox, marzook, obiterdictum, jomi, the lily and the rose, papahaha, obscuresportsquarterly, kevinpdx, deutschluz, TLAD, IngeniousGirl, Joeytj, IreGyre, realwischeese, cs, 57andFemale, romwriter, sherijr, A Voice, nancat357, KS Rose, JDog42, Leftcandid, Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno, Larsstephens, dolfin66, David Kroning, haensgen, Amber6541, Just Bob, BigVegan, ladygreenslippers, kydoc, TruthandTrust, mamamorgaine, henlesloop, lpeggy, grassrootsnm, marabout40, Morus, winkster, flitedocnm, robertacker13, politik, blueyescryinintherain, PurpleMyst, kjoftherock, candysroom, fidellio, chrome327, NYCgrl, Nestmaster, Melissa J, lostmypassword, BonnieSchlitz, Dexter, RJP9999, polar bear, snaglepuss, shenderson, samanthab, tb mare, elginblt, dlemex, Grumpy Young Man, halef, ahimsa, Betty Pinson, MsGrin, BasiX, HylasBrook, lgrabowski, NellaSelim, Pakalolo, Onomastic, watershed, BrowniesAreGood, gobears2000, the girl, Colorado is the Shiznit, RepTracker, SuperBowlXX, Alea iacta est, I love OCD, Birchwood, bgblcklab1, John Minehan, Meggie, freesia, Amayi, firemage, buffalogal55, AtomikNY, island in alabama, itzik shpitzik, Coilette, speet, sallym, smiley7, Haf2Read, marleycat, incognita, ponyeight, ElsieElsie, bamabikeguy, rk2, junipercussion, Joey Madison, merrily1000, worldlotus, Sark Svemes, fossil fish, MuskokaGord, antooo, zapus, whaddaya, MinistryOfTruth, one voice, curtisgrahamduff, wide eyed lib, MnplsLiberal, Tay, Nef, Curiosity, Book of Hearts, blackjackal

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site