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Scientists close to entering Vostok, Antarctica ’s biggest subglacial lake - The Washingt on Post

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  • Teresa Binstock
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1 6:53 AM
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      Scientists close to entering Vostok, Antarctica�s biggest subglacial lake
      By Marc Kaufman,

      After drilling for two decades through more than two miles of antarctic
      ice, Russian scientists are on the verge of entering a vast, dark lake
      that hasn�t been touched by light for more than 20 million years.

      Scientists are enormously excited about what life-forms might be found
      there but are equally worried about contaminating the lake with drilling
      fluids and bacteria, and the potentially explosive �de-gassing� of a
      body of water that has especially high concentrations of oxygen and

      To prevent a sudden release of gas, the Russian team will not push the
      drill far into the lake but just deep enough for a limited amount of
      water � or the slushy ice on the lake�s surface � to flow up the
      borehole, where it will then freeze.

      Reaching Lake Vostok would represent the first direct contact with what
      scientists now know is a web of more than 200 subglacial lakes in
      Antarctica � some of which existed when the continent was connected to
      Australia and was much warmer. They stay liquid because of heat from the
      core of the planet....


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