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Oasis of Life Under the Ice?

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posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 04:09 AM
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Antarctica May Contain "Oasis of Life", aritcle from National Geographic.

I wonder if creatures larger than microbes could survive and evolve in this enviroment. If the ice sheet acts as a blanket and keeps the water in this area liquid then temeperatures shouldn't be too low for more evolved life forms to survive. The only requirement which might hamper the growth of more extravagent life forms would be energy, though as it states in the article if thermal vents are down there then this could meet the energy requirements of larger life forms.


Researchers have uncovered a complex subglacial system miles under the ice where rivers larger than the Amazon link a series of "lake districts," which may teem with mineral-hungry microbes.



The lakes—isolated from the atmosphere for more than 30 million years—ebb and flow as they empty into the polar sea. They stay fluid because the ice sheet above acts like a gigantic down blanket, trapping heat rising from Earth's interior.


news.nationalgeographic.com, page 2

This worries me a bit, if these scientists remove lifeforms/microbes/bacterium etc that have not been exposed to our enviroment for millions of years could there be a chance that they would contaminate or mutate?


Some of these mysteries might be cracked within months, when Russian scientists drill down 2.3 miles (3.8 kilometers) to reach Lake Vostok. The giant lake, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) beneath eastern Antarctica, was found in 1996 using satellite imagery and specialized radar technology.
If successful, the team will become the first to sample water from the lake.



But if hydrothermal vents are found in Lake Vostok that resemble energy-rich, biodiverse vents in the deep ocean, higher-order organisms could be possible, he added.




Amazing that there is a possibility of lifeforms living miles below the Antartic ice sheet in a wetlands enviroment. This research is also hoped to be able to help understand the requirements for life elsewhere in our solar system, in particular Mars and Europa.

Below is some related links.

Ice is continually sliding off Antarctica and into the sea. In ice streams, inland ice speeds into the ocean more than ten times faster than the rest of the ice sheet.
Using satellite images and elevation data, the study team found four new, large under-ice lakes right at the start of a massive ice stream in East Antarctica.


Bizarre New Deep-Sea Creatures Found Off Antarctica.

Does Life Exist in Antarctic Lake Buried Under Miles of Ice?

mojo




posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by mojo4sale




Some of these mysteries might be cracked within months, when Russian scientists drill down 2.3 miles (3.8 kilometers) to reach Lake Vostok. The giant lake, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) beneath eastern Antarctica, was found in 1996 using satellite imagery and specialized radar technology.
If successful, the team will become the first to sample water from the lake.



But if hydrothermal vents are found in Lake Vostok that resemble energy-rich, biodiverse vents in the deep ocean, higher-order organisms could be possible, he added.






very interesting! i always thought antarctica was a solid sheet of ice! i have no doubts that they will find life if there are geothermal vents.

i was wondering why it says that Russian scientists will drill down 2.5 miles, when the picture illustrates the ice being only 1.2 miles deep. is there a buildup of ice over the location of Lake Vostok?



 
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