Research exploring a buried Antarctic lake "twice the size of Manhattan" drilled by 3,500 feet of ice to learn more about the mysterious body of water – and made a stunning discovery along the way.
After days of breaking through thick chunks of ice to reach Mercer Subglacial Lake on December 26, researchers sent a middle down a borehole to capture the rare footage of the lake. They also used other instruments to test the water, eventually finding signs of ancient life: the perfectly preserved skeletal remains of tiny animals trapped under about a half-mile of ice, the nature of the journal was first to report.
"This is really cool," Slavek Tulakzik, a glaciologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told the magazine. "It's definitely surprising."
SCIENTISTS EXPLORE ANTARCTIC LAKE & TWICE THE SIZE OF MANHATTAN & # 39; BURIED UNDER 3,500 FIGHT OF SNOW
Tulakzik is not a part of the Antarctic Lakeland Scientific Access (Salsa) team, which traveled to the area for testing in late December, but studied two decades of sedation under glaciers. He told nature he'd never seen animal carcasses rather than those – well-preserved.
David Harwood, a salsa crew member and a micro-polioontologist, was found to be "completely unexpected."
Mercer Subglacial Lake was first discovered by satellite more than a decade ago by nature. It's one of about 400 lakes hiding beneath Antarctica's ice sheets and little is known about it. This is only the second time that scientists have studied the ancient lake.
In total, the Salsa team has reached six perfect precipitation cores – two more than planned, the blog post Thursday.
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The team signed the borehole and left camp on January 5 but their work is far from over. The scientists say it will take years to analyze and test all of the samples.
According to nature, they will take DNA samples of the carcasses of the crustaceans to determine whether they are marine or freshwater species that could give them a better idea of the Antarctic belt's history.