A novel actinobacterium, designated CB31T, was isolated from a 940 m depth sample of a drilling core obtained from the Chesapeake meteor impact crater. The strain was isolated aerobically on R2A medium agar plates supplemented with NaCl (20 g l−1) and MgCl2·6H2O (3 g l−1). The colonies were circular, convex, smooth and orange. Cells were slightly curved, rod-shaped in young cultures and often appeared in pairs. In older cultures cells were coccoid. Cells stained Gram-positive, were non-motile and did not form endospores. The diagnostic diamino acid of the peptidoglycan was ll-diaminopimelic acid. The polar lipids included phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidglycerol, four different glycolipids, two further phospholipids and one unidentified lipid. The dominant menaquinone was MK-9(H4) (70%). The major cellular fatty acid was anteiso C15:0 (83%). The DNA G + C content was 68 mol%. The strain grew anaerobically by reducing nitrate to nitrite or by fermenting glucose. It was catalase positive and oxidase negative. It grew between 10 and 45°C, with an optimum between 35 and 40°C. The pH range for growth was 5.7–9.3, with an optimum at pH 7.5. The closest phylogenetic neighbors based on 16S rRNA gene sequence identity were members of the genus Tessaracoccus (95–96% identity). On the basis of phenotypic and phylogenetic distinctiveness, strain CB31T is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Tessaracoccus, for which we propose the name Tessaracoccus profundi sp. nov.. It is the first member of this genus that has been isolated from a deep subsurface environment. The type strain is CB31T (=NCIMB 14440T = DSM 21240T). Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10482-009-9367-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.