Drilling in Antarctica


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Drilling down to Lake Vostok has resumed in Antarctica.

This week, a Russian team drilling into Lake Vostok in the center of the Antarctic continent is likely to break through the ice to water. It will be the first time that a subglacial lake has been breached. These modern-day explorers hope to discover whether Vostok, which at 5000 km 3 is the third largest lake on the planet, is teeming with hidden, cold-loving life that could have evolved separately from the rest of the world for hundreds of thousands of years….

After drilling 3720 meters last February, time ran out for the team and the project was stymied just 29.5 meters from its destination as winter set in. Over the summer, they modified their drill bits and now the team is back at work with plenty of time to spare. They had left the large hole filled with antifreeze, so it was ready and waiting for them. It will remain open for years to come, Priscu says, potentially allowing other teams to sample the waters in the future.

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