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Home » 20 Million Year Old Lake Beneath Antarctica Is About to Be Uncovered–Updated

20 Million Year Old Lake Beneath Antarctica Is About to Be Uncovered–Updated

Last updated on June 13th, 2012 at 05:09 pm

This post is an update of my previous discussion about breaching this lake.

After 20 years of drilling, Russian scientists are about to break through 4km of Antarctic ice to reach 20 million year old Lake Vostok.  Who knows what they’ll find there, but I just hope they don’t contaminate this valuable and pristine ecosystem (if anything is alive down there).  And they don’t bring back something right out of a H.P. Lovecraft novel.

From a scientific standpoint, this could be fascinating.  The water will tell us a lot about the earth’s climate 20 million years ago.  It might have life forms that are either living fossils (that is, organisms once thought extinct, but have been found).  Or it might be boring and give us nothing but water.  In science, a negative result is still a result.

Of course, many geologists think the water is only about 13,000 years old, since as ice melts, the water is actually carried away.  And, few discuss the 60 tons of kerosene that fill the borehole (used as a lubricant and anti-freeze).

The Russian science team has reportedly broken through the ice this week.  Since the Antarctic winter is rapidly approaching, the team will probably plug the hole temporarily, and start sampling next year.

No word on if they found the remains of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun.  Yes, that’s in the press release about Lake Vostok.

Michael Simpson

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