Researchers On The Brink Of Discovering Life Forms In A Lake Hidden Under The Antarctic Ice

First Posted: Apr 27, 2016 05:40 AM EDT

The scholars discovered a massive canyon network system underneath the Antarctic ice earlier this year. Today, they are researching for ancient life forms that might have existed deep down.

Scientists from the USA and China have flown to Antarctic region and collected more radar data underneath the ice landscape. The data would give a clear picture of what might be lying under the ice sheet, according to Science Alert. They presented their findings at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna last week.

Martin Siegert of Imperial College of London said that they are going to meet in May to look at the data. "It will be a very good test of our hypothesis about the lake and the channels."

The subglacial lake might be home for possible unique and ancient life forms that could have existed in isolation underneath the ice for million years, according to New Scientist. It is under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on Princess Elizabeth Land, between Vestfold Hills and the West Ice Shelf.

It is a ribbon-shaped lake and measure approximately 140 by 20 kilometers (87 x 12 miles). The subglacial lake is the massive deep-water lake that is linked to the canyon and may be the second largest lake under the ice next to Lake Vostok. The canyon is estimated to be 1,100 kilometers in length (683 miles), and its depth is about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) below sea level.

The reason why it is not detected earlier is that there isn't many scientific data on the thickness of the sheet under which the subglacial lake is buried. Stewart Jamieson, the lead researcher, said that it is a region of the Earth that is bigger than the UK, and little is still known about what lies beneath the ice. He further said that the bed of Antarctica is less well-known than the surface of Mars.

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