A study has shown that Mount Everest has been coughing and sneezing climbers for CENTURIES.
Don’t forget your tissues when you go mountain climbing because germs from coughs and sneezes can linger in the ice for centuries, a study has found.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder analyzed soil samples from Mount Everest and found microbial DNA associated with humans.
The bacteria they belonged to include staphylococcus aureuswhich is associated with food poisoning and pneumonia, and streptococcuswhich causes a sore throat.
Most of the microbes they found were thought to be dormant, but they were stored in “deep freeze zones” near places of human activity.
According to scientists, this discovery supports the idea that alien life can exist on other frozen planets.
The study found that germs from climbers’ coughs and sneezes can persist in the Arctic for centuries. Pictured: view of the South Peak from the South Col Camp.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder analyzed soil samples from Mount Everest’s South Col and found microbial DNA associated with humans. In the photo: the surface at the site of soil collection.
Dr. Steve Schmidt, senior author on the new paper, said: “We can find life on other planets and cold moons.
South Col of Everest
The South Col is a rocky chasm between Everest and its sister mountain, Lhotse, which marks the border between Nepal and Tibet.
It is located on the southeast ridge of the mountain at about 26,240 feet (7,900 m) and is the last place climbers can stop before attempting to reach the summit.
Last year it was revealed that the South Col glacier – the highest on Everest – annually lose ice for decades thanks to global warming.
It is extremely open, meaning that while rising air temperatures have been the main cause of the melt, high winds are also a factor.
“We have to be careful to make sure we don’t infect them with our own.”
In the past, researchers have studied the soil in Earth’s coldest regions, but have rarely found significant numbers of human-associated microbes.
Indeed, they have never been able to definitively identify these microbes in samples collected above 26,000 feet (7.9 km).
But for a new study published in Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine explorationa US team analyzed the soil using state-of-the-art gene sequencing technology.
Samples were collected from the South Col of Everest during the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition.
It was the largest scientific expedition to Everest in history, it was attended by installation of the two highest weather stations in the world.
The South Col is a rocky gorge between Everest and Lhotse Peak, and is the final stop for climbers before they start their journey to the highest mountain in the world.
The researchers with the expedition went as far as possible from the camp to collect soil samples before they were analyzed in the laboratory.
The scientists were able to identify virtually any active and dormant microbes present in the sample from their DNA and determine their genetic diversity.
They expected to find some of them, as they were found in other extreme highlands.
These are particularly resistant microbes as they thrive in low temperatures, high UV exposure, and low water availability.
Soil samples were collected from the South Col during the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition. In the photo: a map showing the sampling site on the Everest climbing route.
The scientists were able to identify virtually any active and dormant microbes present in the sample from their DNA and determine their genetic diversity. In the photo: sampling site
One of them Naganishiyawas by far the most numerous in the South Col samples.
However, they also found unprecedented levels of human-associated microbes left over from climbers’ sneezes and coughs.
“Even at this altitude, there is a human signature frozen in the microbiome of Everest,” Dr. Schmidt said.
There was nothing surprising in their existence, given the number of adventurers passing through the South Col and how easily germs spread.
However, their diversity indicated that the microbes were probably dormant and not killed by the harsh Himalayan conditions.
It was a shock because these microbes have evolved to survive in the warm and humid environment inside our noses and mouths.
The researchers say they may have been abandoned by explorers decades or centuries ago, suggesting that the impact of human activity on the mountain is longer than previously thought.
The authors write: “Our data suggest that the South Col and other extremely high altitude areas may be deep freeze points for deposited organisms, including human-borne pollutants, that may never leave upon arrival.”
Nepal plans to relocate Everest base camp due to global warming
Nepal is planning to move the base camp at the foot of Everest further down the mountain because global warming and human activity makes the current unsustainable.
Experts say the Khumbu Glacier, the 16km “ice river” on which the campsite is located, is rapidly melting and thinning, making it unsafe for visitors.
The glacier is thinning due to melting ice, partly due to footsteps, kerosene stoves and urine – at the base camp people urinate about 4000 liters every day.
The camp is currently at 17,600 feet (5,364 meters), but the new camp will be 650 to 1,310 feet (200 to 400 meters) lower.
Nepal is planning to move the base camp at the foot of Everest down the mountain because global warming and human activities are making the current camp unstable. The Khumbu Glacier is thinning due to melting ice, partly due to footsteps and human urine.