Over 50 new lakes found under the ice of Greenland

Under the huge glaciers of Greenland existlakes and perhaps microorganisms unknown to humanity live in them. Despite the great interest on the part of geologists, they are still little studied, but recently Nature Communications magazine described a major breakthrough in this area. If earlier scientists knew only about 4 subglacial waters of Greenland, now their number has increased to 60. Researchers believe that this is only the beginning - in the future they can find even more lakes that contain not only life, but also affect movement ices

The discovery was made thanks to the cardsGreenland, which were created under a NASA program called IceBridge. In its framework, the space agency monitors changes in the icy regions of the Earth with the help of the ICESat space satellite - the existence of new lakes was discovered thanks to data collected between 1993 and 2016. Maps are created by radio-sounding sensing, when a satellite sends radio waves towards the Earth, which are reflected from water.

Ice lakes found in Greenland

At the moment it is known that the length of the iceThe lakes range in area from 0.2 to 5.9 kilometers. At the moment, they are not documented officially, but the researchers are quite confident in the reliability of the data collected. According to glaciologist Stephen Livingston, in the future they will find many more subglacial lakes - at the moment the data of the IceBridge program are not very extensive, and cover only a small percentage of the huge ice sheet of Greenland.

This study for the first time allowed us to create a picture of where lakes form under the ice cover of Greenland, ”said Jade Bowling, a hydrologist from the University of Lancaster.

Lakes under the Antarctic ice

Lakes under the ice of Greenland began to be studiedonly recently, because earlier most of all attention was paid to the lakes under the ice of the Antarctic. In total, more than 400 of them were found, and some of them were even drilled and tested for the presence of living organisms. For example, in December 2018, a team of researchers drilled a kilometer hole to the “lost” Mercer lake and discovered the remains of underwater plants and microorganisms in it.

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Probably soon scientists will startprepare to drill some of the lakes found. Do you think they will find living organisms in them or not? You can share your answer in the comments, or in our Telegram chat.