Scientists drill into mysterious Antarctic lake under 3,500 ft of ice in bid to find if life exists – Daily Mail
Science and Nature

Scientists drill into mysterious Antarctic lake under 3,500 ft of ice in bid to find if life exists – Daily Mail

Researchers lastly drill into mysterious Antarctic lake ‘twice the sizing of Manhattan’ buried under three,five hundred toes of ice in bid to find if lifetime exists there

  • The pool of water is officially known as Subglacial Lake Mercer
  • Steps virtually 62 square miles, and was discovered far more than a ten years ago 
  • Has only been noticed on satellite images but has in no way been explored
  • Preliminary tests confirmed the drinking water was ‘as clean up as filtered drinking water can get’ 


Mark Prigg For

17:forty four EST, 31 December 2018

eighteen:09 EST, 31 December 2018

Experts in Antarctica have finally drilled into a mysterious lake buried below more than three,500 feet of ice in a bid to discover out if lifetime exists there. 

Mercer Subglacial Lake is a hydraulically active lake that lies extra 1000m beneath the Whillans Ice Simple, a fast transferring segment of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 

The pool of h2o, recognized as Subglacial Lake Mercer, measures nearly sixty two sq. miles, was identified extra than a decade back by satellite pictures but has under no circumstances been explored.   

Scroll down for video 

Al Gagnon (remaining) and SALSA Marine Techs Michael Tepper-Rasmussen and Jack Greenberg (heart and appropriate) examination the WHOI (Woods Gap Oceanographic Establishment) Gravity Corer that will be employed to collect ten-foot and 20-foot sediment cores from Mercer Subglacial Lake. Scientists in Antarctica have eventually drilled into a mysterious lake buried less than far more than three,five hundred toes of ice in a bid to obtain out if daily life exists there.


The pool of water, recognised as Subglacial Lake Mercer, handles one hundred sixty square kilometres, twice the size of Manhattan.

It may possibly be 10–15 metres deep 

Even with temperatures that are very likely to remain under °C, the lake will not freeze, because of the rigorous force from the ice above. 

Antarctica conceals much more than 400 lakes beneath its ice 

It is one particular of four hundred lakes beneath the Antarctic ice – and industry experts say any lifestyle there could elevate hopes of acquiring related organisms deep within Mars or on the ice-included moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) group mentioned it took two days of drilling to achieve Mercer Subglacial Lake on Dec. 26.

The staff melted their way through an great frozen river with a superior-force, warm-drinking water drill. 

‘After four days of troubleshooting elements that sustained dress in and tear from sitting down by way of two winters on ice, the Drill Workforce commenced drilling the principal borehole on the night of December 23 and attained the lake a lot quicker than predicted at 10:30pm on December 26 with a borehole depth of 1084 meters,’ it mentioned.

A crew of scientists — which includes forty five experts, drillers and other staff associates — with the firm were able to send an instrument down a borehole the up coming day.

They will also reduced a remotely operated auto down the hole to seize more footage and consider much more in depth measurements.

It is hoped the submersible’s 3 video clip cameras may well seize pictures of animals that stay in the dim drinking water. 

‘We never know what is actually likely to be there,’ John Priscu, a lake ecologist at Montana State College in Bozeman and chief of the undertaking explained to Character. 

Lead Driller Dennis Duling (suitable) and PI Brent Christner (still left) with the sizzling drinking water drill moments before it began its 4,000 foot journey downwards to Mercer Subglacial Lake

‘That’s what can make it so a great deal pleasurable.’ 

Some of the researchers drilled into a close by, smaller subglacial pool called Lake Whillans in 2013, and located it teeming with microbes.

A workforce of scientists — which features 45 experts, drillers and other workers customers — with the corporation were equipped to send an instrument down a borehole the future day

The pool of h2o, identified as Subglacial Lake Mercer, actions practically sixty two square miles, was found out more than a ten years ago via satellite photographs but has hardly ever been explored.

The group plans to examine the depth, temperature and cleanliness of the lake over the subsequent number of times. 

Aspect of the drilling process consists of sampling the drill h2o to take a look at its cleanliness.

The h2o has been examined two times consequently considerably, and both checks showed the water was ‘as clean as filtered water can get’, in the words of SALSA PI Brent Christner.


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