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Scientists Discover Fish Under Antarctic Ice

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posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 02:56 PM
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An expedition, funded by the National Science Foundation, has melted a hole down through the Ross Ice Shelf at a point 850 km (~530 miles) from its edge, in an area where 740 meters of ice float atop 10 meters of seawater so devoid of microbial life that it's nearly clear. This area, known as the grounding zone, is where the shelf transitions into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which lies in contact with the ground.

A team of drillers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln used hot water pumped through a Kevlar hose to create a borehole large enough to insert the newly built ROV, Deep-SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging). The ROV, which was lowered into the hole on an umbilical the size of a garden hose, was designed to handle extreme pressures that would have crushed its predecessor's (SCINI) cameras.

Depiction of Deep-SCINI from design proposal. Image Credit: UNL Newsroom

The first glimpses of the seafloor revealed a starkly barren landscape. Given the 500+ mile distance to the open ocean — and sunlight — researchers were expecting to find only microbes but within moments of parking the ROV a meter above the seafloor...

From Scientific American (via Obscuragator):

One of two dozen or so fishes spotted. ROV arms at top of image.


At last Burnett and Zook brought Deep-SCINI to a standstill a meter above the bottom, while they adjusted their controls. People in the cargo container stared at an image of the sea floor panned out on one of the video monitors, captured by the forward-looking camera. Then someone started to yell and point. All eyes swung to the screen with the down-looking camera.

A graceful, undulating shadow glided across its view, tapered front to back like an exclamation point—the shadow cast by a bulb-eyed fish. Then people saw the creature casting that shadow: bluish-brownish-pinkish, as long as a butter knife, its internal organs showing through its translucent body.

The room erupted into cheering, clapping and gasps. “It was just amazing,” recalls Powell.


All told, the ROV encountered 20 or 30 fishes that day. “It was clear they were a community living there,” Powell says, “not just a chance encounter.” The translucent fish were the largest. But Deep-SCINI also encountered two other types of smaller fish—one blackish, another orange—plus dozens of red, shrimpy crustaceans flitting about, as well as a handful of other marine invertebrates that the team has so far declined to describe.


Now the real research begins; discovering what's powering the ecosystem they've found in this extremely hostile, nutrient-poor environment!
edit on 2015-1-21 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:00 PM
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I really hope they've taken and continue to take NASA type care in not contaminating the environment. And before editors come to this thread with the usual "I wonder what it tastes like" comments, remember, fish are friends, not food. As are female Australian track stars.
edit on 21-1-2015 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:09 PM
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Cool. Fishicles!

The adaptability of life on this planet is amazing. Seems the only thing it can't adapt to is humans being fools. So what Aleister said too.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:11 PM
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Looks like the fish were there before the ice was then?



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:11 PM
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I hope for their sake that they don't taste good.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Really cool. With as dark as they say it is (500 miles to the open ocean and sunlight?), I'm surprised that they have eyes that, I would assume, function as normally as they appear. I would have expected blind cave fish-looking things in an environment.

Thanks, Antarctica, for always bringing surprises!



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:14 PM
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Next I bet we find the same under the ice on Titan, Europa, Ceres, etc. The list goes on and on... Life finds a way.


+5 more 
posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:31 PM
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amazing!

That little fish dude probably swam away and told his fish buddies:

" dudes! I just saw this big orb light!"

and his buddies said:

" it was swamp gas!"
" it was just a rock dude"
" dude, everyone knows there`s no such thing as light"



seriously though I want to know what they eat, this is going to be a very interesting expedition that they have undertaken.
edit on 21-1-2015 by Tardacus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:39 PM
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Where else did they expect to find fish?



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:44 PM
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Isn't it amazing how nearly every inch of Earth is covered in life!? Compare that to as far as our telescopes and probes can see into the barren wasteland of outer space. A stark contrast isn't it?



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 04:10 PM
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originally posted by: robbystarbuck
Next I bet we find the same under the ice on Titan, Europa, Ceres, etc. The list goes on and on... Life finds a way.


I was thinking the same thing - this certainly makes a good case for exploring Europa.

Great thread, I like how the article relays the excitement in the room when that shadow first popped up.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 04:36 PM
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originally posted by: Aleister
I really hope they've taken and continue to take NASA type care in not contaminating the environment. And before editors come to this thread with the usual "I wonder what it tastes like" comments, remember, fish are friends, not food. As are female Australian track stars.


I think it's amazing that life has found a way to survive even in that inhospitable environment. I would never dream of eating anything that has managed to live where no one thought possible. On an unrelated note, I have never wondered what a female Australian track star tastes like. Lol



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 04:51 PM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey
a reply to: theantediluvian

Really cool. With as dark as they say it is (500 miles to the open ocean and sunlight?), I'm surprised that they have eyes that, I would assume, function as normally as they appear. I would have expected blind cave fish-looking things in an environment.

Thanks, Antarctica, for always bringing surprises!


It might be the case that there are predators or food sources that emit light like fireflies, or that they communicate using flashes of blue or UV light.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 04:58 PM
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Im waiting for "scientist discover city under Antartic ice".



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 05:02 PM
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a reply to:: robbystarbuck

Next I bet we find the same under the ice on Titan, Europa, Ceres, etc. The list goes on and on... Life finds a way.


a reply to: mc_squared

I was thinking the same thing - this certainly makes a good case for exploring Europa.

Great thread, I like how the article relays the excitement in the room when that shadow first popped up.


I've been fascinated (and somewhat terrified) by the prospect of life on Europa since reading 2010: Odyssey Two as a kid. Hopefully the Russians don't drill into Europa and make a mess of things like they have with Lake Vostok:


Samples taken from the lake so far contain about one part of kerosene per 1000 of water, and they are contaminated with bacteria previously present in the drill bit and the kerosene drilling fluid.[51] So far, the scientists have been able to identify 255 contaminant species, but also have found an unknown bacterium when they initially drilled down to the lake's surface in 2012, with no matches in any international databases, and they hope it may be a unique inhabitant of Lake Vostok.[59][60][51] However, Vladimar Korolev, the laboratory head of the study at the same institution, said that the bacteria could in principle be a contaminant that use kerosene — the antifreeze used during drilling— as an energy source.[61][62]



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 05:05 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Amazing find OP
1 can imaging these areas having small or large access points from below the sea floor or within the ice sheet barriers... These potential sea floor or ice sheet access points could provide the opportunity for some sea eggs and sea seeds for vegetation to travel within or through from main ocean points. This may be a way to start and feed a potential high percentage enclosed ecosystem...

Now if we can only get a large enough ROV into lake VOSTOK with black or inferred lighting... Maybe even more finds like this can be shared, and if sleep not disturbed


NAMASTE*******



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: Tardacus

Either that or he was screaming, "Eeeaaggghhhh! My eeyyyess! I'm bliiiind ..."




posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 06:00 PM
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Wow... so much we have yet to discover on this planet IMO.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 06:26 PM
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The ice to water ratio there is insane. Imagine dying of thirst on a glacier.



posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 08:36 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
I've been fascinated (and somewhat terrified) by the prospect of life on Europa since reading 2010: Odyssey Two as a kid. Hopefully the Russians don't drill into Europa and make a mess of things like they have with Lake Vostok:


Arthur C. Clarke had a pretty amazing knack for telling the future so I can understand your apprehension


As much as I am all "goooooo science!", it is kind of daunting how we stand today on the threshold of so many exciting - yet Pandora's Box style - advancements in genetics, AI, etc.

The discovery of life on another planet (or moon), even if it's the tiniest single cell blob thing, is something I really hope I am around to see. Imagine the excitement when they found that fish x1000000000. But for sure we need to tread carefully.



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