Germs Coughed And Sneezed Out By Climbers On Mount Everest Last For Centuries

Germs Coughed And Sneezed Out By Climbers On Mount Everest Last For Centuries

This study illustrates how visitors affect the greatest peak on Earth.

Thousands of meters above sea level, and due to the rather high altitude, Mount Everest is covered in snow all year round. The peak of this mountain is a place that every climber wants to reach once in his lifetime. But the dangerous area has more than 200 dead climbers’ bodies buried in its thick layer of snow. These corpses remain frozen 365 days a year. As a result, most of the bodies are nearly perfectly preserved.

Just like these dead bodies, there is a report that says that Everest is preserving the germs coughed and sneezed out by climbers.

According to new University of Colorado Boulder-led research, the climbers are leaving behind a frozen legacy of hardy microbes, which can withstand harsh conditions at high elevations and lie dormant in the soil for decades or even centuries.

The findings of the research were published last month in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, a journal published on behalf of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at CU Boulder.

The study could assist us in comprehending the environmental requirements for life on Earth, as well as where it might exist on other planets or cold moons. It also sheds light on a hidden effect of tourism on the world’s tallest peak.

“There is a human signature frozen in the microbiome of Everest, even at that elevation,” said Steve Schmidt, senior author on the paper and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

“If somebody even blew their nose or coughed, that’s the kind of thing that might show up.”