Lake Vostok, Australia

The Mystery of Lake Vostok

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Lake Vostok is located in Antarctica and is a subglacial lake hidden under the ice. It is the largest of all subglacial lakes in Antarctica and exists 4,000 meters under the surface of ice. Andrei Kapitsa, a geographer and explorer, was the first to speculate about the possibility of a subglacial lake under Antarctica. Then, in the 1970s, a team of British scientists performing ice penetrating radar surveys discovered that Kapitsa’s speculations were correct and there was in fact a lake lying deep under layers of ice.

The importance of such a discovery is huge if you take into account that Vostok Lake has been sealed under ice for about 15 million years and by getting access to the lake we could get many answers about the formation of Earth and life that existed millions of years ago and may even still exist.

Vostok is located about 1,300 km from the Geographical South Pole with the Russian station named Vostok above it. It was built in 1957 by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition. Is it coincidental that the Russian station was built directly above the lake, which was apparently unknown at the time?

It was in 2012, that after 20 years of drilling the Russian scientists finally opened a vertical channel to the Lake and got access to the ancient fresh water sealed there for millions of years. Forty litres of water were collected and taken to Russia for further research.

A few weeks ago it was reported that unknown bacteria was found in the samples that could be a completely new form of life. And if indeed the bacterium found is classified as unknown then the question is from where did it come from? We are still waiting for a confirmation about that. We need to realize that taking a sample from the lake won’t give all the answers, there is much to be discovered. The possibility of fish existing in the lake as well as other animal life is not excluded. But one thing is for sure, lake Vostok will give answers about the history of Earth like never before, the only question is if inconvenient replies will be released to the public or remain secret forever.

By John Black

 

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