This is from McMaster University , via EurekAlert: Mini subs to probe odd structures in BC lake.
Single person submersibles have been called in to help scientists retrieve samples from a lake in northern British Columbia that may hold vital clues to the history of life on Earth and on other planets.
Greg Slater, an environmental geochemist in the Faculty of Science, says the objects of scientific interest are unique carbonate rock structures, known as microbialites because they are covered with microbes. Some of these microbialites grow at depths up to 180 feet below the water’s surface, too deep to reach by non-decompression SCUBA diving.
"Are they the result of biological or geological processes? Why are there different microbes living on them and how long have these microbial communities been preserved? These are some of our big questions," says Slater, who joined the international team researching these curious specimens three years ago. [continue]