The Lost World of Lake Vostok

Nov 3, 2022 | Nature, Videos

Sometimes it seems as if our planet has no secrets left – but far below the great scientists of the Antarctic ice sheet have made a surprising discovery. They have discovered one of the largest lakes in the world. It’s very existence defies belief. Scientists are desperate to get into the lake due to its extreme environment can be home to unique flora and fauna, never seen before, and NASA are excited about what it can teach us about extraterrestrial life. However, 4 kilometers of ice are between the lake and the surface and break the seal without contaminating the body’s most pristine water on the planet is possibly one of the greatest challenges facing science in the 21st century.

In 1957 the Russians established a remote base in Antarctica – Vostok station. It soon became synonymous with trouble – depends on an epic journey of 1 year. Tractor 000 km from the coast to supply water. The coldest temperature ever found on earth (-89 ° C) was recorded here on July 21, 1983. It’s an unlikely place for a lake of liquid water. But in the 1970 British team used a radar in the air to see beneath the ice, mapping the highlands buried under Antarctic ice. Flying near the base Vostok radar footprint suddenly went flat. It was assumed that the track could only be flat water. It was the first evidence that the ice could be hiding a big secret.

But 20 years passed before their suspicions were confirmed when the satellite finally revealed that there was a huge lake at the base of Vostok. It is one of the largest lakes in the world – at 10,000 square kilometers, is the extension of Lake Ontario, but almost twice as deep (500 meters in some places). The theory was that it could only exist because the ice acts as a giant blanket of insulation, trapping heat sufficient to melt the earth at the bottom of the ice.

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