Navigation Links
Exploration of lake hidden beneath Antarctica's ice sheet begins

A four-man science team led by British Antarctic Surveys (BAS) Dr Andy Smith has begun exploring an ancient lake hidden deep beneath Antarcticas ice sheet. The lake the size of Lake Windermere (UK) could yield vital clues to life on Earth, climate change and future sea-level rise.

Glaciologist Dr Smith and his colleagues from the Universities of Edinburgh and Northumbria are camped out at one of the most remote places on Earth conducting a series of experiments on the ice. He says,

This is the first phase of what we think is an incredibly exciting project. We know the lake is 3.2km beneath the ice; long and thin and around 18 km2 in area. First results from our experiments have shown the lake is 105m deep. This means Lake Ellsworth is a deep-water body and confirms the lake as an ideal site for future exploration missions to detect microbial life and recover climate records.

If the survey work goes well, the next phase will be to build a probe, drill down into the lake and explore and sample the lake water. The UK could do this as soon as 2012/13.

This ambitious exploration of subglacial Lake Ellsworth, West Antarctica, involves scientists from 14 UK universities and research institutes, as well as colleagues from Chile, USA, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and New Zealand. The International Polar Year* project Principal Investigator is Professor Martin Siegert from the University of Edinburgh. He says,

We are particularly interested in Lake Ellsworth because its likely to have been isolated from the surface for hundreds of thousands of years. Radar measurements made previously from aircraft surveys suggest that the lake is connected to others that could drain ice from the West Antarctic Ice sheet to the ocean and contribute to sea-level rise.

Professor Siegert is already planning the lakes future exploration. He continues, Around 150 lakes have been discovered beneath Antarcticas vast ice sheet and so far little is known about them. Getting into the lake is a huge technological challenge but the effort is worth it. These lakes are important for a number of reasons. For example, because water acts as a lubricant to the ice above they may influence how the ice sheet flows. Their potential for unusual life forms could shed new light on evolution of life in harsh conditions; lake-floor sediments could yield vital clues to past climate. They can also help us understand the extraterrestrial environment of Europa (one of the moons of Jupiter).


Contact: Athena Dinar
British Antarctic Survey

Related biology news :

1. Hidden interactions between predators and prey: evolution causes cryptic dynamics in ecology
2. Biologists expose hidden costs of firefly flashes
3. UD plant biologists uncover top wetland plants hidden weapon
4. Stanford/Packard researchers find disease genes hidden in discarded data
5. Poor Americans in the United States suffer hidden burden of parasitic and other neglected diseases
6. New plant study reveals a deeply hidden layer of the transcriptome
7. Ancient fish bones reveal impacts of global warming beneath the sea
8. Beyond batteries: Storing power in a sheet of paper
9. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
10. U of M begins nations first clinical trial using T-reg cells from cord blood in leukemia treatment
11. DHS Begins Collecting 10 Fingerprints From International Visitors at Washington Dulles International Airport
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... single-cell precision engineering platform, detected a statistically ... cell product prior to treatment and objective ... highlight the potential to predict whether cancer ... prior to treatment, as well as to ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ... Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding ... offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) ... their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited ... competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... ... of the newest frontiers in human health. Gut Love: You Are My Future, the ... offers an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: