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The Ice Worm!

Updated on March 1, 2012
The black worms, approximately 1mm long
The black worms, approximately 1mm long | Source

The Ice Worm!

Hi there, after a mild amount of deliberation, I have decided to make at least one hub a day, with one random fact of the day. You join me today on my first ever Fact Of The Day, if you like what you see, then please join me everyday for a new fact! Today as you see is the turn of the ice worm.

In 1887, a glacial geologist named George Frederick Wright was hiking across the Muir glacier in southeast Alaska when something caught his eye. Walking all day on uninterrupted blankets of snow, there wasn't much usually to catch a hiker's attention, however, as the daylight began to fade George noticed that the snow began to develop what could only be described as a five o'clock shadow. These wriggling 'whiskers' grew rapidly and emerged from the solid ice. After several minutes the snow was crawling with thousands of small black worms, and within an hour there were tens of thousands. They criss-crossed across the snow as far as George could see leaving hardly a square inch unwormed.

A few hours later, they began to effortlessly sink back into the ice, leaving nothing but pure white snow for the morning sun. George brought news of these worms back to civilization. Yet even over a century later, little more is known about the tiny organisms. Some scientists believe that they travel through the ice using microscopic fissures in ice sheets, whilst others believe the worms melt the ice by secreting a chemical that lows the freezing point of the ice, like antifreeze. They've not been found in any other glacier either.

The ice worms in perspective next to a 10 yen coin, which is the same size as a nickel and a English penny
The ice worms in perspective next to a 10 yen coin, which is the same size as a nickel and a English penny | Source

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    • Marie-Grace profile image

      Marie-Grace 5 years ago from Travelling, Always

      How strange- worms living in ice. I've lived in some cold places but I've never seen those before.

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