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Author Topic: Massive lake discovered beneath Antarctica's ice  (Read 557 times)

space otter

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Massive lake discovered beneath Antarctica's ice
« on: April 28, 2016, 07:58:37 AM »
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/massive-lake-discovered-beneath-antarcticas-ice/ar-BBslkJh?li=BBnb7Kz

USA TODAY
Mary Bowerman
7 hrs ago

Massive lake discovered beneath Antarctica's ice


© orsten Blackwood - Pool/Getty Images A turquoise lake (C) forms from melting snow near Cape Folger 

A massive newly discovered lake may lie below the surface of Antarctica’s ice sheet, according to researchers.

A team of researchers used satellite images showing grooves in the ice to infer that a large lake was beneath the ice,  Martin Siegert of Imperial College London told New Scientist.  Though not as large as Lake Vostok, which is Antarctica’s deepest and largest subsurface lake, it is likely a close second, researchers said during the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, New Scientist reported.

“We’ve seen these strange, linear channels on the surface, and are inferring these are above massive, 1000-kilometer-long channels, and there’s a relatively large subglacial lake there too,” Siegert told New Scientist.

Researchers believe subglacial lakes may harbor organisms that have remained undisturbed beneath the ice sheath for millions of years.

While it's still uncertain whether the lake actually lies beneath the surface, researchers are expected to pore over data in May, which will confirm whether or not it exists.


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http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2016/04/27/antarctica-underwater-lake-discovered-harbor-life/83595570/
A massive newly discovered lake may lie below the surface of Antarctica’s ice sheet, according to researchers.

A team of researchers used satellite images showing grooves in the ice to infer that a large lake was beneath the ice,  Martin Siegert of Imperial College London told New Scientist.  Though not as large as Lake Vostok, which is Antarctica’s deepest and largest subsurface lake, it is likely a close second, researchers said during the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, New Scientist reported.

“We’ve seen these strange, linear channels on the surface, and are inferring these are above massive, 1000-kilometer-long channels, and there’s a relatively large subglacial lake there too,” Siegert told New Scientist.

Researchers believe subglacial lakes may harbor organisms that have remained undisturbed beneath the ice sheath for millions of years.

While it's still uncertain whether the lake actually lies beneath the surface, researchers are expected to pore over data in May, which will confirm whether or not it exists.



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http://news.discovery.com/earth/lake-beneath-antarctic-ice-could-hold-hidden-life-160427.htm

Lake Beneath Antarctic Ice Could Hold Hidden Life
 
 Apr 27, 2016 08:16 AM ET  //  by  Kieran Mulvaney


Scientists believe that lakes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet may harbor previously unknown life.
NASA
 
British scientists believe they may have discovered a large lake beneath the ice of the Antarctic continent, one that may harbor life that has lain undisturbed for millennia. They believe the lake, which measures approximately 87 by 12 miles, is connected to a canyon system that in total is roughly 680 miles in extent. The scientists first published their finding in the journal Geology and expanded upon them this month at the European Geosciences Meeting in Vienna.

Their conclusions are based on discerning faint grooves in the ice after closely examining satellite imagery of the area, in a region of the froze continent known as Princess Elizabeth Land.

“We’ve seen these strange, linear channels on the surface, and are inferring these are above massive, 1000-kilometer-long channels, and there’s a relatively large subglacial lake there too,” Martin Siegert of Imperial College London, a member of the research team, told New Scientist.

Antarctic Lake May Contain Extreme Life Forms

Siegert further stated that researchers from China and the US have flown over the region and gathered ice penetrating radar data, which they hope will confirm the presence of the under-ice features.

“We’re meeting in May to look at the data,” he said. “It will be a very good test of our hypothesis about the lake and channels.”

Although big, the putative lake would not be the largest discovered under the frozen ice cap of the Antarctic. That honor belongs to Lake Vostok, which measures 160 by 30 miles — which would make it the sixth-largest in the United States, more than twice as large as Utah’s Great Salt Lake and bested only by the Great Lakes.

Antarctic Lava Lake Huffs, Puffs Like Dozing Dragon

In 2012, Russian scientists drilled a borehole into Lake Vostok, which has been covered by ice for 15 million years and lies more than two and a quarter miles below the surface, and claimed to have found evidence of unusual life. However, their findings were met with skepticism and controversy because the water samples were contaminated with fluid used to help the drilling process; last year, having corrected their technique, they began to drill for a second time.

An American team that drilled into Lake Whillans — a sliver of water just 7 feet deep, which is half a mile below the surface of the Ross Ice Shelf — in 2013 was able to avoid such contamination issues by deploying a series of sterilization measures. To their astonishment, they found microbial life in a density comparable to that in many of the world’s deep oceans, and a complex community of bacteria and archaea at least 4,000 species strong.

The shock of finding such an array of life, living in apparent isolation and far from the reach of sunlight, was compounded by the discovery by a team deploying an ROV two years later of a species of translucent fish, as well as some small crustaceans. Where exactly the nutrients come from to sustain such life remains to be determined, and the story may not be the same for every lake; subglacial lakes near the coast such as Whillans, for example, may have a very different history than the more isolated Vostok.

But it’s possible that these most unlikely of ecosystems are fed by some form of chemosynthesis, in which bacteria and other microbes feed on minerals that descend from the ice above or seep through the marine sediments below.


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http://www.iflscience.com/environment/absolutely-massive-subglacial-lake-found-beneath-antarcticas-ice

Absolutely Massive Subglacial Lake Found Beneath Antarctica's Ice
 
April 25, 2016 | by Robin Andrews


Photo credit:  Ice caves beneath Iceland. Could this be what the new subglacial lake looks like? Kenneth Dedeu/Shutterstock

The Antarctic ice conceals a smorgasbord of secrets. Once a warm forested part of the world during the age of the dinosaurs, many fossils of which are just waiting to be excavated, it also features the world’s largest canyon system and a treasure trove of meteorites that were forged in the fiery furnace at the beginning of the Solar System.

There are also liquid freshwater lakes beneath the surface of the icy realm. Lake Vostok is probably the most well-known: After being left undisturbed for around 25 million years, scientists were overcome with curiosity and it was carefully breached.

Now it appears that researchers have another subterranean lake to add to their increasingly diverse collection of hidden geological gems. As revealed by the research team at the annual gathering of the European Geophysical Union (EGU) in Vienna this month, it is second only in size to the enormous Lake Vostok. The findings were reported by Motherboard.

Ice at the surface is shaped by what type of rock it’s resting on, so by looking at unusual geographic features using ground-penetrating radar, scientists are able to make good guesses as to what may be concealed beneath. This time around, a collection of grooves at the surface revealed to the international team – who were in fact responsible for the canyon discovery last year using the same method – that a subglacial lake, complete with its own channels, still exists beneath the ice.

The lake itself is around 100 kilometers (62 miles) long, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide, and is ribbon-shaped. It also appears connected to the canyon, and channels leading away from it may be transporting water towards the West Ice Shelf and into the ocean.


The researchers, from the U.K., China and the U.S., are meeting this May to discuss the radar data that they have independently gathered, in order to try and absolutely confirm the existence of both the canyon system and the subglacial lake. Both would be of immense interest to biologists, who are keen to explore ecosystems that have remained untouched for tens of millions of years.

Whether or not these newly-discovered regions contain life is yet to be seen. However, this possibility isn’t a particularly unlikely one: The research team investigating Lake Vostok, for example, have found hints that simple microbes could still be thriving at these icy depths.

Possibly heated by hydrothermal activity – hot, mobile fluids associated with volcanic processes – Vostok was reported to have evidence of more than 3,500 different DNA sequences hiding within it, from bacteria and archaea to viruses and even fish. However, the study in question has been openly doubted by other researchers, so more data is required before this can be settled.

Life, however, has indeed been found in other lakes across the icy continent. A drill core from one, Lake Whillans, contained 130,000 cells per milliliter of subglacial lake water, which is a density of life similar to that found in the depths of the world’s oceans.

This microbial life has survived without sunlight for up to 1 million years, so it seems more than likely that it can also be found in more of Antarctica’s 350 buried lakes – including, of course, this new addition to the family.

(H/T: Motherboard)

Photo Gallery

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http://www.sciencealert.com/a-massive-lake-underneath-antarctic-ice-could-be-home-to-unique-undisturbed-life-forms

A massive lake underneath Antarctic ice could be home to hidden life forms
PETER DOCKRILL
26 APR 2016

« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 08:03:20 AM by space otter »

Offline Sinny

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Re: Massive lake discovered beneath Antarctica's ice
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 08:06:50 PM »
Was there ever an update on Lake Vostok?

It's 4am here. I might answer my own question another day.
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society"- JFK

 


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