Science team just drilled through thousands of feet of ice into Antarctica’s lost lake

Researchers can now dip into this 'lost' lake and conduct experiments that tell us about the geology and hydrology of a hidden subglacial world, and maybe even find a unique species or two along the way.


Lake Mercer- also known as a lost lake, exists deep below the ice. Currently, according to reports, the lake was inaccessible to usual experiments.

Following four days of investigating parts that sustained wear and tear from sitting through two winters on the ice, the Drill Team at the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA), started drilling the main borehole on the evening of December 23rd and reached the lake quicker than anticipated at 10:30 pm on December 26th with a borehole depth of 1084 meters.

Scientists then smoothed and widened the borehole with the purpose that instruments can be sent down. On December 27, scientists sent the first instrument named Deep SCINI Clum Weight, which imaged footage of the borehole and the lake and gave estimations of depth, conductivity, and temperature.

Science team just drilled through thousands of feet of ice into Antarctica's lost lake

During the drilling, scientists tested the cleanliness of drilled water and found it clean as filtered water can get. They then run water through filters that catch 99.9% of bacteria and particles.

At the point when the drill broke the ice over the lake, just a small amount of drill water mixed into the lake as the pressurized lake water hurried up the borehole and counteracted a large portion of the bore water from mixing into the lake.

Although very little drill water will mix into the lake, the SALSA team has taken every precaution available to maintain clean access into Mercer Subglacial Lake.

On Dec. 24, tested the WHOI (Woods Hole Research Institute) Gravity Corer in a ‘mock’ borehole. The Gravity Corer, also known as a Deep Corer uses its heavyweight to take up to 20-foot core samples. The Gravity Corer will lower down the borehole to a specified height and then make a controlled freefall and use its weight to dive deep into the sediment.

What they find will help determine the progress of eroded minerals and decaying matter, which will help inform theories and models on Antarctica‘s subglacial hydrodynamics and geology.

Scientists also the expecting to spot a few undiscovered species along the way.

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