February 14, 2012 · by Barb Murphy
Exploration of Antarctica has been in the news recently, as a Russian team successfully drilled to reach Lake Vostok, the largest of the continent’s lakes, buried beneath 3.7 kilometers of ice. The United Kingdom and the United States also have plans to drill into Antarctic bodies of water. Researchers identified more than 145 subglacial lakes and aquatic environments beyond just the large lakes. These lakes and their connected aquatic systems are among the last unexplored places on Earth. Moreover, they have been sealed from free exchange with the atmosphere for millions of years, making it possible for unique microbial communities to exist in these environments. The Polar Research Board of thehas produced a number of reports about exploration of this region. These books discuss environmental and scientific protection standards needed to responsibly explore the subglacial lake environments and suggest important areas of research for the United States to achieve success for the next generation of Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. All are free to download.
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