Lake Vostok: Russian geologists found in the deepest borehole in Antarctica

Nature 21/01/20 Lake Vostok: Russian geologists found in the deepest borehole in Antarctica

the Study of this unique body of water, hidden under 4 km of Antarctic ice — one of the projects, comparable in importance to space exploration. The first attempts to reach the isolated for 15 million years the lake was taken in 1989, but only in 2015, scientists were able to impress the world with the first sensations.

a New leader for the Guinness book of

the Version that many kilometers under the ice of Antarctica is a unique lake, was made in the mid-20th century and a few decades in the existence of a pond to the South geomagnetic pole was sure of it. Then began the first attempts of drilling of ice in 1972, the explorers did not reach the level of a thousand meters, and in February 2013 they have successfully passed almost the entire thickness of the ice, reaching 3.7 km away.

In the course of investigations it was found that the subglacial lake is the largest of existing Earth ponds, hidden under the ice. Its length is 157 km, width is about 65 km, and the depth of the lake is nearly 1.2 km away and lake water is extremely rich in oxygen, the amount of which is 50 to 100 times more than in fresh water of any of the previously known surface water body. The pressure is 400 times greater than atmospheric.

a Pair of unique bacteria

In the course of drilling, scientists have repeatedly removed on the surface of various microorganisms, but all of them were “brought from the Earth.” Only in 2004 the Russian scientists drilled the ice age is not less than 5 thousand years, discovered a unique microorganism. Previously unknown bacterium survives well at a temperature of -50 °C, in total darkness, with the soaring pressure with excess oxygen, upholstered, scientists believe, at the bottom of the lake. In 2016, the explorers found a second unique bacterium, which has the index of W-12310.

ObaVatel will say, well, found a new bacteria, and well done! Like, neither hot nor cold from it to the ordinary person. However, such findings are not only incredibly increase the prestige of the country, but also promised to help in the study of the satellites of Jupiter and Uranus, as well as the poles of Mars. Because life in lake Vostok presumably occurs under the same conditions as in the cosmic waters. As well as sending missions to remote from Earth satellites is difficult, scientists can remotely study the extraterrestrial bodies of water similar to lake Vostok, to make hypotheses and to set the automatic goal, telling what to look for in space. It turns out that the study of the East – a great testing ground for developing technologically engineering solutions, which after bringing to perfection could be used to study other objects in the Solar system.

single Crystals of giants

during the study, scientists were expecting another unusual find – ice crystals-giants. Their size exceeded 3.5 meters, while to “grow” the crystals very slowly – not more than 5 mm per year. Such a small growth rate of the crystal is impossible to achieve even in ideal conditions, modern laboratories, but the explanation for this natural phenomenon, scientists have not yet found.

is There life in the East?

in the Summer of 2013 was published a scientific study which demonstrated that in the pond there are not only simple bacteria, but also fungi-multicellular eukaryotes with clams, rotifers, arthropods and even fish. However, the information was refuted by the genetics of Petersburg nuclear physics Institute. Russian scientists, including the famous crioestaminal Sergey Bulat, insisted that a subglacial lake is not detected any organisms except bacteria. And presented as a sensation “samples” – the remains of the “living creatures”, which, if were carried out in the lake, it has long been extinct, and its DNA in the water survived only thanks to verzariu in thick ice. Still, the explorers have not yet reached the bottom, where presumably there are warm thermal springs, and has not studied the lake in full. And suddenly in a unique pond inhabited not only primitive bacteria?

Faina Shatrov

© Russian Seven

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