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800 meters beneath Antarctic ice sheet, subglacial lake holds viable microbial ecosystems
Date:8/21/2014

d for this project were also carefully cleaned before being lowered into the borehole through the ice and into the lake.

A major concern that drove the clean-drilling techniques and protocols is that it is still unclear how interconnected the subglacial aquatic system is. Researchers did not want to risk contaminating the entire system through their sampling of one body of water.

The paper also raises a separate issue of the connectivity of Lake Whillians to the wider global ecosystem, noting that Lake Whillans is part of a network of three major reservoirs beneath the Whillans Ice Stream that regulate the transportation of water to a subglacial estuary--an area where fresh and salt water mix--which links the subglacial aquatic system to the ocean beneath the Ross Ice Shelf.

"Given the prevalence of subglacial water in Antarctica," the researchers write, "our data ... lead us to contend that aquatic microbial systems are common features of the subsurface environment that exists beneath the ... Antarctic Ice Sheet."


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Contact: Dawn Jenkins
djenkins1@lsu.edu
225-578-2935
Louisiana State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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800 meters beneath Antarctic ice sheet, subglacial lake holds viable microbial ecosystems
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