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, is 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-m 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-twentieth century. And in a few decades in the existence of a pond to the South geomagnetic pole was sure of it. Then was organized the first attempts of drilling ice. In 1972, the explorers did not reach the level of 1000 meters, but in February 2013, has successfully crossed 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 a depth of almost 1.2 km of lake water is extremely rich in oxygen, the amount of which is 50 to 100 times more than in fresh water of any known surface water body. Pressure there is 400 times greater than atmospheric.

a Pair of unique bacteria

during the drilling to the surface repeatedly removed various microorganisms, but all of them were “brought from the Earth.” Only in 2004 the Russian scientists drilled the ice age at least five thousand years, discovered a unique microorganism. Previously unknown bacterium, living, as experts believe, at the bottom of the lake, perfectly survives there at a temperature of -50°C in absolute darkness, to the same over-the-top pressure and excess oxygen. In 2016, the explorers found a unique bacterium, which was rated the IndusKS W-12310.

the man in the street will say, well, caught new bacteria, and well done! It seems to be 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 proceeds presumably in the same conditions as in the outer waters. As well as sending missions to remote from Earth satellites is difficult, scientists studying lake Vostok, can remotely study the extraterrestrial bodies of water, build hypotheses and to define the automatic task, telling what to look for in space. It turns out that the East can be seen as a great testing ground for technological engineering solutions, which after bringing to perfection can be applied when meeting 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, it was found that “grow” the crystals very slowly – not more than 5 mm per year. This low speed of crystal growth is impossible to achieve even under ideal conditions of modern laboratories. However, to explain this natural phenomenon, scientists still can not.

is There life in the East?

in the Summer of 2013 was published a scientific study in which it was alleged that in the pond there are not only simple bacteria, but also fungi-eukaryotes, multicellular organisms – mollusks, rotifers, arthropods and even fish. However, this information was refuted by geneticists Petersburg Institute of nuclear physics. 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 animals, 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. And all the same genderjarnicki 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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