Buried Antarctic Lake Targeted by a New Expedition

By: Sean Patterson - September 10, 2012

Next month, a 12-man team of scientists, engineers, and support staf will set off for Antarctica on a quest to collect samples from an ancient lake that has been buried for hundreds of thousands of years. The expedition has taken 16 years of planning and development. During the past three years, engineers at the British Antarctic Survey (BAC) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have designed and built a titanium water-sampling probe and a sediment corer that will be lowered through through the three kilometres of antarctic ice the lake is buried under.

Once the team arrives on-site, and after drilling a three-kilometer hole with a hot-water drill, they will have just 24 hours to sample water and sediments from Lake Ellsworth. After that, the bore hole will re-freeze. The team, led by Martin Siegert, professor of geosciences at the University of Bristol, will be facing temperatures of -25°C on the surface of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet above the lake.

“For the first time we are standing at the threshold of making new discoveries about a part of our planet that has never been explored in this way,” said Siegert. “Finding life in a lake that could have been isolated for up to half a million years is an exciting prospect, and the lake-bed sediments have the potential to paint a picture of the history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in a way that we haven’t seen before. The team’s mission is to get into the deep field and bring back clean, valid samples of lake water and lake-bed sediments, which can be brought back to the UK for in depth analysis.”

The expedition is going to great lengths to keep the lake from becoming contaminated. Every piece of equipment will be sterilised to space industry standards. The team is hoping to bring up samples sometime in December of this year.

“This time last year a small advance party transported nearly 70 tonnes of equipment 16,000 km from the UK to the drilling site,” said Chris Hill, program manager at the British Antarctic Survey. “Now, one year later, we will ship another 26 tonnes of equipment on to the continent so that we can complete stage two of this challenging field mission. We set foot on the ice again in October and hope to bring samples to the surface in December 2012 – an historic moment we have all been waiting for.”

(Photo courtesy the British Antarctic Survey)

About the Author

Sean PattersonSean is a staff writer for WebProNews. Follow Sean on Google+: +Sean Patterson and Twitter: @St_Patt

View all posts by Sean Patterson
  • Jody Kreycik

    Think of how preserved fossils will be! There might even some frozen fish or other creatures. The life, if there is any besides extremeophile bacteria will be pretty bizzare.

  • Tom

    Be careful what you dig up Expeditioners, don’t bring back any new STDs, plagues, viruses or aliens. God knows we have enough illegal aliens.

    Seriously, don’t FU our planet in the name of science. Science and advancement kills about 79% of all people.

    • David

      And statistics kill the other 51%

    • felix

      Tom Le Morun…

  • Caleb

    Brilliant. Let us just dig up some ancient flesh eating bacteria that wiped out the dinosaurs. “Hoping to bring samples to the surface in December 2012.” I don’t necessarily support the idea that December 21, 2012 is the end of the world, but kind of ironic isn’t it?

    • Futzle

      Sit back and read your bible instead.

      • andre

        read the bible?? for what? how about we read some sumerian tablets that tell the true story..not some religious bullshyt and propaganda that some pastor or reverend tells us ..the people need to wake the hell up and relize that all religion is a damn cover up

        • Quite Amazed

          If any of you read the bible instead of telling people to read the bible, you would see where it is written…

          Matthew 24:36
          “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

          The Mayans didnt know, Nostradamus or any of the false prophets of the last 30yrs. No one does. According the bible, not even Jesus knows. One day his father will say “Now” and then it will happen. When the end of the world comes, it will come and that is it…The End!

        • Get Real

          Been there done that, it’s just another book of fairy tails designed to give people that need a crutch an escape from reality.
          It feed the emotions of the brain, not the reason and logic centers. It deludes the brain in such an manor that those with a religious mind set are capable of believing ANYTHING to the extent they will willingly blow themselves up for their imaginary god.
          Freaking amazing how gullible some can be and most a capable of becoming.

        • Get Real

          Thousands of gods have been worship by many different cultures over the centuries (many BEFORE Christianity) and many still are today, yet isn’t it amazing how each one of these believers is so sure they’ve got it right and the rest are wrong.

          You have deluded yourself to believe in a nonexistent god(s) simply so you can feel better about all the bad Sh$T that happens on this planet everyday. So you can justify and deal with all the misery on this planet. Its an emotional cop out from reality and more need it than not. So by all means, delude your reason and logic to get you through the night, just keep it out of my face.

  • andre

    a lake almost a million years old…this part of the world wasnt covered in ice back then..will they tell us what they trully find in that lake?? or will the government hide the truth as always.and why wait until december 2012??? call me a conspiracy-hound or whatever but any information that will tell the true origins of man(homosapiens)is covered up or buried or destroyed by the powers that be…just ask zechariah sitchin..

  • Charlie White

    The amazing thing about this is that evolution and the age of the earth are theories with provable errors. And yet even with these facts the scientists and engineers will skip theory and will classify everything as fact even though all assumptions are based on theory.

    • Get Real

      So if I’m not mistaken you’d rather believe in the bible I suppose. A book that was written decades after the myth by some guys in the desert living in tents. Yes , I’ll put my money on those Einsteins any day of the week… or NOT.
      At least science is making discoveries and making corrections as new data comes available.
      A scientific theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

      Stop deluding yourself just so you can feel better about things, that’s an escape from reality…that’s religion.

      • Get Really Real

        Whether you believe in a God of some sort who creates, moves, breathes life into everything or the Higgs Boson, String Theory, Unified Theory etc. Both are unproven and taken on faith of some sort. Why fight about it? Religious Zeal or Scientific Zeal, either way we’re still the same.

    • felix

      Charlie White … Another bible thumber ……

  • fred johnson

    another stupid waste of money. who gives a xxxx about some lake that isn’t a lake?

    • mike pipkin

      They are drilling a hole in ice. That’s it. How did you retardeds incorporate religion into this? Let the scientist freeze their butts off. Why do you care?

    • Wolf

      It is a lake, just one you cannot boat on and fish on because it has been under ice for the last million years. Why do people see or hear the word lake and think of boating and fishing on it?

  • Ken

    I can’t understand how an article about exploration in Antarctica still managed to draw this many crackpots to the comment page. Shouldn’t most of you guys be preparing for the 9/11 Conspiracy anniversary or something?

  • Jamie

    wow…the ignorance is just … baffling. I don’t understand how there can still be so many idiots out there. It is 2012 people! The Earth is NOT flat, the Sun does NOT revolve around the Earth, I mean…jesus! Our poor kids are going to be so confused…we have the chance now to teach them the TRUTH! WE dont need fairy tales to explain these things anymore…we have SCIENCE now…just not the ability to let go of out dated beliefs I guess…how many more generations is it going to take to erase the damage religion has caused…

    • felix

      Jamie, I totally agree but the conservatives want to start another dark age and apparently they are winning so get ready to go backward.

    • Get Really Real

      Religion or Science in the wrong hands is detrimental. We will never fully understand either of them. They both attempt to explain “everything” but let’s face it, in our limits as humans we will never know either one fully. Stating one understanding as more true than the other and vice versa is what creates the dictatorship of relativism. i.e. neither view is willing to truly understand the other and immediately shut down all conversation or open mindedness. Religious Absolutism or Scientific Absolutism, they’re both the same.

      • Get Really Real

        Damn, now I know for sure I’m tired. That was intended to be the “dictatorship of [absolutism]” not relativism. I can’t decide if I should get some caffeine or sleep…

  • earl

    hey all dum ass out thier just take a look arond you did theos trees get here by it selfei do not no if there is a god but i do know that something mmead all of this so put that in your pipe and smok it.

    • http://weebpronews.com Al

      You’re an idiot!

    • Sherry

      Did you learn to spell like that all on your own ??

      And what ARE YOU smoking ??

      • Sherry

        that comment is for Oh, Oh, yeah I forgot my name is Earl

    • Prchewwin

      Can you spell?? a$$h0le

  • just it

    Its amazing how quickly global warming covered this lake with ice 2 miles thick.

  • rlmuck

    I hope they go old school… someone double dog dares somebody to drink it!!!

  • Ho Lee Schit

    Why the hell is religion in this discussion? Bible freaks, go terrorize some gathering. Conspiracy theorists, go disturb some one else. This article is about a frozen, subterranean lake where scientists will find out more about kinds of life that existed there. No where in this article did it say “9/11 was here” or “…and Jesus let thine lake freeze over”.

  • rick

    I think most of you need to get a life.I read thru these comments and find the anti-religious pompus bores and the religious ones shrill talking bible thumpers.The only level headed ones are the trolls and their entertaing. So most of you just chill and quit yer whining.

    • Get Really Real

      LoL, I know what you’re saying here. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh that I read your post as if you were someone who was whining about other people whining.

  • Philipp

    That must be the cleanest water on the planet… Can somebody grab me a cup?

  • Saw This One

    Any bets? Ancient virulent/bacterial plague is accidentally released; against which, we have no immuno-response whatsoever. Or freshly-thawed flesh-eating aliens feast upon humanity? I bet on the germs.

    • Get Really Real

      I’ll bet on aliens just for fun. It’s cool though, the Predators will come down and help us out. lol

  • Ed

    That’s a lot of effort for a cup of water! It’s still a fascinating thing to explore after hundreds of thousands of years but the expense is enormous and the odds of man being able to get down there is next to impossible but it has the potential to yield a fortune of information.

  • Bill

    What happened at the moment of the BIG BANG?………. GOD said let there be light and there was light. If you can begin to understand how vast the universe really is somehow the link to some force greater than ourselves exists, Be it GOD or CREATOR, May be all one and the same. Religions and denominations are man made and anything man made is flawed. MAKE ONE BLADE OF GRASS LIVE…….. THEN I’LL DOUBT IN A CREATOR.

    • TheBitch

      People like you make me roll my eyes or get sick, not because GOD is punishing me, but because of how brainwashed, closed and simple minded you truly are.

      The day I let GOD rule over me will be the day..actually.. Never. Nor will I repent if the world ends.
      You read an amazing article about an under ground lake covered by millions and billions tons of ice and all you can think and preach about is GOD?

      Can we get back on topic and think about the amazing types of creatures and organisms that might be found and what stories can be told?
      Or in your case let’s think about “other magnificent creatures GOD gave us to discover”

      sheeessh. .-. Lay down on the bible thumping, please sir? This isn’t Sunday Mass.

      • Bill

        Did I mention the Bible or preach? No Just stating my beliefs just as you are, its my right just as your belief is your right. I hope they discover something new and interesting about earsts history that may help Man. I just believe in something Bigger than us. What do you believe in?

  • philip o’carolan

    oh, go ahead and waste a few hundred million more taxpayer dollars. i wonder when their going too send a robot too the sun? the would be a good investment.

    • john

      People talk about wasting money on the space program while typing on a pc or talking on a cell phone…Why dont we just take away everything that has been developed over the years because of the space program and see how much your little world changes.You would not be on this blog..