The bacterial DNA structures at different depths in the Puruogangri (Tibetan Plateau) ice core (83.45m) were investigated by the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) DNA fingerprinting technique. DGGE profiles indicated that the bacterial species diversity in glacial ice is high, and indigenous species represented by common bands in all samples may grow on the glacial surface. Bacterial diversity, as estimated by Shannon indices (mean 2.91; SD 0.25; n = 13), was comparable to that of soil habitats and had a positive correlation with Ca2+ concentration (R = 0.71; P< 0.01), a good proxy of dust. This suggested that the soil ecosystem was the main source of bacteria in this glacier. The low similarity indices (0–43%) were found between the ice-core samples, which corresponded to the episodic deposition under defined climatic conditions and low activity of microorganisms in glacial ice. The profiles of bacterial species composition in glacial ice may be a bio-indicator of climatic changes or dating.