Science & Technology
Scientists drill in to 'lost' Antarctic lake
By T.K. Randall
January 2, 2019 · 3 comments
The team used a gravity corer to collect sediment from the bottom of the lake. Image Credit: SALSA
Hidden 4,000ft beneath the surface of the ice, Lake Mercer remains a tantalizing target for investigation.
Like something from a science fiction movie, the long-buried bodies of water that reside deep beneath the Antarctic ice make up a veritable 'lost world' that no human has ever visited.
Unraveling the secrets hidden within these sub-glacial lakes can teach us much and may even reveal the existence of organisms that have lived there, cut off from the outside world, for thousands of years.
To this end, the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project has been hard at work drilling down through the ice to reach the waters of Lake Mercer over 1km straight down.
While Lake Mercer itself isn't completely isolated like some of Antarctica's hidden bodies of water, it can still provide a wealth of information about how water moves beneath the ice crust.
This in turn can provide vital clues explaining how global warming may be affecting the ice caps.
"We don't know what we'll find," said project chief scientist John Priscu.
"We're just learning, it's only the second time that this has been done."
Source: Science Alert
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Lake Mercer, Antarctica
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