Tag Archives: Lake Whillans

Confirmed: Life in buried Antarctic lake

American scientists have confirmed that water samples from the buried Antarctic Lake Whillans, first obtained in January 2013, contained almost 4,000 different species of life.

Samples from the lake show that life has survived there without energy from the Sun for the past 120,000 years, and possibly for as long as 1 million years. And they offer the first look at what may be the largest unexplored ecosystem on Earth — making up 9% of the world’s land area. “There’s a thriving ecosystem down there,” says David Pearce, a microbiologist at Northumbria University, UK, who was part of a team that tried, unsuccessfully, to drill into a different subglacial body, Lake Ellsworth, in 2013.

An American team who grabbed a sample from buried Lake Whillans in Antarctica last month now claim their work obtained the first evidence of microbial life in subglacial Antarctic waters.

An American team who grabbed a sample from buried Lake Whillans in Antarctica last month now claim their work obtained the first evidence of microbial life from below the icecap.

An American ice-drilling team has reached Lake Whillans in Antarctica after a 600 mile journey.

An American ice-drilling team has reached Lake Whillans in Antarctica after a 600 mile journey.

Their plan is to drill down 2,600 feet to the lake. With the Russians and British, this makes three teams this year trying to drill into the buried lakes of Antarctica.