Ice from Vostok Lake Surprises the Scientists

15.01.2013

The ice found in Vostok Lake of the Antarctic could bear significantly different physical properties than those of regular ice, scientists of the Russian Antarctic expedition suppose. This hypothese is to be checked in May 2013, when the ice samples are delivered to the laboratory on the mainland. Researchers drill holes in the lake ice to explore the composition of the unique relict water body.

Озеро Восток – уникальный водоем, отделенный толщей льда от мира на протяжении 15 миллионов лет!

Scientists discovered a new type of ice at the depth of 3383 meters under the ice shield. It is of bright white color, opaque and porous. They also extracted a sample of regular transparent ice with a column of white ice frozen into it at the depth of 3406 meters. "We haven't yet studied the physical properties of ice forming at such extreme rates of pressure inside the well", – says Vyacheslav Martyanov, head of logistics center of Russian Antarctic expedition.

Under the ice lake of Vostok is the largest freshwater relict body on Earth. It is 30 times larger than Lake Geneva by its square territory. The lake has been captured under the Antarctic ice shield for over 15 million years now. The researchers hope to encounter any microorganisms there that have been isolated from the planet's biosphere for such a long time. However, the laboratory tests of Vostok water revealed that it is completely sterile. The only living creatures found in the samples were germs from the drill used by the researches.

Photo: Wikipedia.