Research

Scientists drilled kilometer hole to study the "lost" Antarctic lake

In early December, it became known about the new mission.Team SALSA, which studies isolated lakes, hidden under the ice of Antarctica. Scientists were going to drill a hole in the ice leading to the previously unexplored Mercer Lake, discovered more than ten years ago using a space satellite. The intriguing mission was completed successfully - the researchers made a hole 1084 meters deep and raised the material for research to the surface. The data obtained will help to explore the whole world, hidden under a layer of thick ice, and, quite possibly, concealing in itself living new organisms for science.

To drill ice over 1000 meters thick,scientists used a special drill with a nozzle, spraying hot water under high pressure. The work of an unusual tool required additional equipment weighing more than 500 tons. It took 2 months to transport the huge system from McMurdo station in Antarctica to the area under which Mercer Lake is located.

Among the additional equipment were fundsfor the livelihood of researchers, but most of the tools were intended for the environmental mission. Under the layer of ice there is clean water untouched by people, so it was important for scientists to protect it from pollution. Scientists were helped by nature itself - previously the lake did not freeze due to high pressure exerted by ice, but the water released from the pressure that had risen to the surface quickly froze and did not allow mud to get into the lake itself. All the instruments used were pre-sterilized, and the remaining water was subjected to ultraviolet radiation before being returned to the lake.

At the moment, scientists were able to find out the exactthe depth of the lake, measure the electrical conductivity of water and its temperature. Considering the important role played by Antarctica in shaping the climate of our planet, it is very important for scientists to study it as closely as possible. For example, scientists have to learn how the waters of the Antarctic manage to flow under a heavy layer of ice and how biological processes are carried out in them. A lot of work - after all, more than 400 mysterious lakes are hidden under the ice.

Mercer Lake is not completely isolated from the outside.world, and is associated with the Ross Sea, the glacier of which publishes chilling sounds similar to the horror movie soundtrack. It is possible that in the dark corners of the lake there are living organisms unknown to science.

What do you think, what discoveries can scientists make? You can write your realistic or even fantastic assumptions in the comments or in our Telegram-chat.