According to researchers, a huge ancestral underground lake in Antarctica could hold never-before-seen ancient life forms.
The discovery of a new gigantic lake under the ice of Antarctica revived scientific interest in finding life forms that have remained untouched for millions of years.
Thanks to a series of images taken by satellite, a group of scientists have discovered grooves on the surface of ice on Antarctica, which is similar to those already identified in other known subglacial waters, which could indicate the existence of a massive subglacial lake, reports an article was written by New Scientist.
According to scientific data presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, the large subglacial lake is second in size only to Lake Vostok. The claims supporting the discovery come from satellite images which depict grooves on the surface of ice on Antarctica.
“We’ve seen these strange, linear channels on the surface, and are inferring these are above massive, 1000-kilometre-long channels, and there’s a relatively large subglacial lake there too,” said Marting Siegert of Imperial College London, a member of the team that located the putative lake. in an interview.
According to statements, the huge subglacial lake is believed to be approximately one hundred kilometers in length, by ten kilometers in width appearing to be ribbon-shaped.
Interestingly, researchers note that they have identified extremely long channels and canyons which extend from the lake and stretch out a staggering 1,000 kilometers towards the eastern coast of Antarctica, on Princess Elizabeth Land, between Vestfold Hills and the West Ice Shelf.
According to Bryn Hubbard of the University of Aberystwyth, UK, “It’s the last un-researched part of Antarctica, so it’s very exciting news, but it’s still tentative pending full confirmation.”
In the near future, if the existence of this lake and its canals is confirmed, researchers will aim to set up a new research project which would allow the study of the subglacial lake, whose biodiversity is believed to be as rich as the that found at the depths of the oceans on our planet, and may even shelter ancient lifeforms which have remained untouched for millions of years.
Siegert adds that the subglacial lake could help researchers find out if it supports species unlike any others on the planet.
“It’s really nice to see some new techniques for revealing the characteristics of the last ‘pole of ignorance,’” says Christine Dow, of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the US. “The potential discovery of large canyons and lakes could have a big impact on our understanding of tectonic and hydrological evolution in this part of the ice sheet.”
It is worth mentioning that in 2013, a scientific team from the State University of Bowling Green, United States claimed to have discovered over 3,500 DNA sequences in Lake Vostok, including bacteria and previously unseen life forms. However, numerous researchers have doubted the authenticity of the samples and the methodology used for the study.