Lake Vostok is a 20 Million Year Old Lake Buried Beneath Antarctica

For the past 20 years Russian scientists have been drilling over two and a half miles under the Earth to reach Lake Vostok, a lake that has been hidden for over 20 million years in the middle of Antarctica – the coldest place in the world. The video above is a small clip from a documentary regarding Lake Vostok.

Vostok is believed to have more fresh water than any other lake in the world, by volume, Vostok is the largest lake known to man. To give you an idea of how deep Vostok is, the lake is kept warm by heat coming from the Earth’s core, even though two and a half miles of ice are resting above it. The Russians are stationed in the Vostok Station, which is considered to be one of the coldest places on earth.

For nearly two decades the Scientist have been conducting experiments as they drill down to the lake, they are collecting ice core samples, and microorganism samples that they find trapped in the cores. Now that they are about to break through the layer, they are jumping in excitement to see what they are going to find.

The Lake has been completely undisturbed for over 20 million years, since back when Antarctica was attached to Australia, IF there is life, this is going to be one of the greatest finds of our modern history.

So what will they find when they break through the ice cap? I can tell you what they won’t find, the Spark Cube from Transformers! But on a more serious note, if they don’t find life, their last 20 years of drilling would become the largest disappointment of the scientists’ life. These people spent nearly two decades freezing to death to see what this lake has hidden on its waters.

There are other problems to take into consideration, if there is life; the drill bit could potentially contaminate the water killing all the organisms that are trapped in the lake. Other more serious problems are pressure buildups from the past 20 million years that could destroy the entire drill assembly, picture opening a coke can under pressure. Lastly, whatever is living down there has never been in contact with Humans, but most importantly, WE have never been in contact with whatever lives there. This could release ancient bacteria that we’re not prepared to deal with.

If it all goes well, we would, not only learn about the history of our early Earth, but we could learn about the possibility of having life on ice planets and moons like Europa.[ Via: BBC ]