10 Curiosities of the mysterious Lake Vostok | 15 Mill. Of years under the ice

There are still mysterious and unexplored places on our planet. In Supercurioso we have approached the Punto Nemo, the most inaccessible place on Earth or to Antarctica, which although known since the eighteenth century was not really explored until the twentieth century. In the frozen continent, one of the most amazing discoveries was that of a lake that remains hidden at more than 3.6 km. of depth. Join us to know 10 Curiosities of the mysterious Lake Vostok, it takes more than 15 million years under the ice . What can you hide?

They call it " the last mystery of the planet "And in samples of water extracted frost inside a drill it has been proven that the lake under the ice sheet is not sterile, but contains a unique ecosystem and more than 3,500 species have been identified through genetic analysis. The scientists have identified bacteria which are found in the digestive systems of fish, crustaceans and annelid worms, also two species of archaea and fungi. Although the most mysterious fact related to Lake Vostok is that apparently it has been detected the existence of something so large metallic in the bottom of the lake that alters the regular magnetism. What can be?

10 Curiosities of the mysterious Lake Vostok

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If we could travel in time and move to Antarctica 35 million years ago, we would find a land of temperate climate in which diverse animals and plants lived. Some time later there was a temperature drop of such magnitude that the ice covered the lake that had been connected to the Southern Ocean. It does "alone" between 14 and 15 million years ago, the ice that had been intermittent over the lake became permanent due to a new drop in temperatures and the Vostok was plunged into darkness, subjected to the increasing pressure of the ice that it covered it and completely isolated from the atmosphere.

10 Curiosities of the mysterious Lake Vostok

1. The Lake Vostok It gets its name from the Russian base that was installed on it on the surface of the ice. This in turn took the name of a ship called "Vostok" which means "East" or "East" in Russian and commanded one of the discoverers of Antarctica, the Russian admiral Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen.

2. The first to suggest the existence of a subglacial lake in the Vostok area was Andréi Kapitsa, a Russian geographer who studied the surveys of the Soviet expeditions that took place between 1959 and 1964 in order to measure the ice layer . The existence of the lake was confirmed in 1993.

3. The Lake Vostok It was formed approximately 60 million years ago due to a depression that formed when moving and fracturing the continental plates and is well below sea level, about 500 meters.

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4. It is not the only subglacial lake in the Antarctic continent, but it is the largest of the 400 that are known.

5. The surface of the Lake Vostok It is almost 4,000 meters below the surface of the ice. The lake measures 250 km. long and 50 km. of width in the greater part, being the average depth of 432 meters.

6. To explain that water from Lake Vostok remain liquid despite being under almost 4 km. of ice there are four hypotheses:

  • The first one assures that the water of the lake is at -3ºC and if it continues it is liquid despite being below the freezing point, it is due to the pressure it supports due to the weight of the ice above it and reaching 360 degrees atmospheres The ice with that pressure melts.
  • The second says that it does not solidify at that temperature because the rocks below the lake are hot from the geothermal heat of the planet's interior.
  • The third hypothesis says that the ice cover could act as a kind of insulating blanket protecting the water of the lake from the very low temperatures of the surface.
  • The fourth and last is that it has not yet had time to freeze after a period of temperate climate that ended 5,000 years ago.

7. In the Vostok base, the lowest temperature on Earth was recorded: -89ºC. With this climate, scientists thought that the Lake Vostok It would not have life and it would be sterile, but it has been proven that it is not so.

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8. Analyzes of the samples have found both psychrophiles, which are organisms that live with extreme cold, and thermophiles, which are organisms that live with heat. This fact has led them to think that there are possibly hydrothermal vents in the depths of the lake.

9. They have also found presence of both marine and freshwater species, which supports the hypothesis that the lake was at some point connected with the ocean.

10. One of the current concerns of the scientists is that the lake water is not contaminated. The Russian team uses antifreeze fluid to keep the research well open and other ways are being designed as the National Research Council, which assumes that there is microbial life in the lake, believes it is necessary to protect it from pollution.

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Regarding the metallic object detected in the bottom of the lake and that produces the alteration in the regular magnetism, the scientists believe that It may be an aerolite or the magnetic anomaly has nothing to do with the object and it is an effect produced by by the thinning of the earth's crust in that place, but as always, the supporters of the theory of ancient astronauts They think it could be a "giant flying saucer". What do you think of the subject? If you want to know more about Antarctica, we invite you to read the post: 50 Fascinating Antarctic Curiosities | With Images .

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