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