Sunday, June 10, 2007

Guide to Exploring Ancient Subglacial Antarctic Lakes, Released

The National Research Council of the National Academies of Science has released the report, "Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship," in order to help develop a global scientific consensus on minimally disruptive ways to study one of the last unexplored places on Earth, which is underneath two kilometers of Antarctic ice. These are the subglacial lakes, interconnected by a web of waterways, that have intrigued scientists and dreamers alike. There have been stories that Nazis used this netherworld to hide plundered treasures. Others say this is the entrance to the fabled world of Agartha where giant humanoids live. Scientists theorize that these lakes may hold lifeforms never before seen. Many of these may have survived from geological ages past.

The report stresses that before any direct exploration takes place, there needs to be more surveys taken of the network of subglacial lakes. It also said that the unique environment has to be protected by an international treaty before any further incursions are made. Drilling over one of the largest of these lakes, Lake Vostok (left illustration) has so far reached 120 meters above the transition zone where the ice and water underneath it meet. The lake environment itself has not yet been breached. For more information, go to the National Science Foundation website.

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