The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) arrived in western Antarctica earlier in December, preparing for their anticipated mission to drill into Lake Ellsworth, a subglacial lake. After days of hard work, the team announced that it was stopping its efforts, stymied by a technical problem.
Colder temperatures have kept crabs out of Antarctic seas for 30 million years, but warmer waters from the ocean depths are now intruding onto the continental shelf, and this seems to be changing the delicate ecological balance.
A new study has come up with the most accurate estimate yet for the melting of the polar ice sheets, possibly ending decades of uncertainty about whether the sheets will melt further or actually gain mass in the face of climate change.
Lake Vida in Antarctica is covered by an ice cap up to 27 meters thick, is six times saltier than sea water, and with an average temperature of −13 °C is one of the coldest aquatic environments on the planet. However, it is teeming with microbial life.
Next week, UK glaciologists are heading to Lake Ellsworth to prepare for a new drilling stage that will start December 5. They hope to reach the lake and start examining sediments to find signs of life.
While to most observers, Antarctica is a barren wasteland, there are many who see it as something completely different. There’s a rich network of rivers and enormous lakes, which happen to be covered by ice.
The leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), one of Antarctica’s apex predators, kills penguins and smaller seals in a violent yet efficient manner. However, it seems that that’s not the only thing that H. leptonyx eats. A new study reports that H. leptonyx uses suction feeding to eat large amounts of krill, which is akin to how whales eat krill as well.
The seas surrounding Antarctica are among the world’s most pristine, but fishing vessels are set to move in. Next week, there is a meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) that may try to contain the rush to access the region’s natural resources.
It took two chilling decades, but the Russian team has finally broken into Lake Vostok, the largest of the lakes hidden under Antarctica’s ice, and the most deeply buried. Lake Vostok has been isolated for millions of years and it might contain specifically adapted microorganisms, that haven’t been seen on the surface of the planet for a long time.
A team of Russian researchers is close to breaching into Lake Vostok, a prehistoric lake that’s been trapped deep beneath the Antarctic surface for the last 14 million years. Vostok is the largest sub-glacial web of more than 200 lakes, which are hidden 2.5 miles (4 km) beneath the surface.