Russian researchers reached subglacial Lake Vostok

The film crew of Centre of National Film at the Antarctic station "Vostok"
The film crew of Centre of National Film at the Antarctic station "Vostok"

On January 25 during the Russian Antarctic Expedition researchers got water samples from subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This was announced by Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Sergey Donskoy: "After three years of hard work in the extreme Antarctic conditions the Russian polar explorers managed to complete the drilling of the well. Its depth along the length of the ice core is 3769.15m."

It is the second penetration into the relict lake. For the first time, the Russian scientists made their way to Vostok through the almost 4 km ice armor on February 5, 2012. They received the first water samples from the lake then, and found traces of living organisms in them. But drilling fluid from the well got into the samples, so the previously unknown life forms could not be clearly connected with Vostok.

To get clean water from the lake St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics (PINP) has created a special instrument. It is a two-meter titanium tube with a system of water pumping and heating. It can hold a liter of water and weights about 50 kg. The equipment has been thoroughly checked for leaks, the researchers have made sure that the drilling fluid consisting of a mixture of kerosene and freon does not get into it.

"This drilling is very important in terms of our priorities in research activities - Russian scientists are the only ones who can do it. The main objective of the drilling is to take samples of pure water that will get us the picture of what is happening in the lake," - said Honorable President of the Russian Geographical Society, Director of the Institute of Geography RAS, Academician Vladimir Kotlyakov.

In the Antarctic the researchers are accompanied by a filming crew which is working on a film about the second in the history penetration into the lake. Right after the crew returns to Moscow the participants will give a press conference at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society where they will speak about the drilling and demonstrate the shots they took. Follow our announcements.

Lake Vostok is located near the "Vostok" Russian station in Antarctica. The existence of the lake was predicted by Russian scientists in the 60s of the last century on the basis of studies. It was discovered a few decades later. Its size is 50x250 km. According to scientists the lake was clogged with ice about half a billion years ago. It is unique because there is a chance that it  was isolated from the Earth's surface for several million years. After the first penetration into the lake on February 5, 2012 it took three seasons to get to the water again.