Russia says drillers reach long-buried Antarctic lake
A picture taken in January 2009 shows scientists of Russia's Vostok research station with a visiting Prince Albert II of Monaco (third from left).
February 8th, 2012
09:57 PM ET

Russia says drillers reach long-buried Antarctic lake

Russian scientists briefly pierced the two-mile-thick veil over a freshwater lake hidden beneath Antarctica's ice sheet for millions of years, polar researchers announced Wednesday.

Scientists hope samples of Lake Vostok, a body the size of Lake Ontario, will yield signs of previously undiscovered life and new clues about the history of the planet. The lake is believed to have been covered by ice for up to 30 million years.

Russian researchers completed the drilling effort Sunday, reaching the lake at a depth of 3,769 meters (2.3 miles) into the ice, the St. Petersburg-based Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute reported.

When the ice above the lake was breached, lake water was sucked up into the bore and froze, the Russians said. That will allow researchers to take samples back to the surface without contaminating the lake below, they said.

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Filed under: Environment • Nature • Russia • Science
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Snowyowl

    This is a hoax. There can't be any 30 million year old lake in Antartica or anywhere else. The earth is only 5000 years old. Just ask Rick Santorum.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You just made my brain explode...thanks...

      February 10, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    @ Snowyowl, 5000 years of RECORDED history. Science can calculate the number of years old a tree is by its RINGS, so it must be the same for this thick sheet of ice that covered the lake.
    I am getting more intrigued as I think about the possibilities of what will be discovered.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gene1o

    What did they REALLY find? Joe Biden!

    February 11, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      Are you kidding that's Queen Elizabeth's 2nd Castle down there.

      February 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      An iPad 2 would would go so far for me in graduate oschol next month! My current laptop is an old one I purchased from eBay several years ago and it's literally on its last limb. I can't afford to buy a new one just yet but winning an iPad would be amazing because I could use it for taking notes and doing my class assignments. Congrats to whomever wins the iPad!!

      March 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. malasangre

    and the tons of kerosene used for drilling went where?

    February 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jaime

    wait..how can there be unfrozen water in an frozen underwater lake...

    February 13, 2012 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It's supposed to be heated from the earths core.

      February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ZeroVector

    Didn't anyone see "The Thing"? Drilling into antarctic ice to go after life forms is NEVER a good idea!

    February 13, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    According to other articles I've read, the water in this lake is refreshed (replaced) about every 32,000 years, by movement of the ice above it and natural melt of the ice above it. I don't see where they are going to get anything about the history of the planet from this.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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