Ancient water bodies may contain ecosystems adapted to life beneath more than two miles of ice
The Earth Institute at Columbia University--Lying beneath more than two miles of Antarctic ice, Lake Vostok may be the best-known and largest subglacial lake in the world, but it is not alone down there. Scientists have identified more than 145 other lakes trapped under the ice. Until now, however, none have approached Vostoks size or depth.
In the February 2006 issue of Geophysical Review Letters, scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a member of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, describe for the first time the size, depth and origin of Vostoks two largest neighbors. The two ice-bound lakes are referred to as 90ºE and Sovetskaya for the longitude of one and the Russian research station coincidentally built above the other. The scientists findings also indicate that, as suspected with Lake Vostok, an exotic ecosystem may still be thriving in the icy waters 35 million years after being sealed off from the surface.
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