Penetration of subglacial Lake Vostok through the existing holes - a good idea?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
In winter 1958, the first drilling experiences for ice sheet exploration at Vostok Station, a Russian research station in Antarctica, took place. This was one year after the Vostok Station was established in 1957 during the International Geophysical Year. The existence of the subglacial lakes was unknown at that time for they were not discovered until the late 1960s. [19,21] After coming to a depth of 52m in 1958, drilling was stopped for almost a decade until 1969. From then on, various holes were drilled and as a result thousands of meters of ice cores were recovered at Vostok Station. The drilling at borehole number 5G started on 20 February 1990 and it reached its record depth of 3650m in the summer season 2005/06. The data obtained by these ice cores revealed much information about the last 420,000 years.  In the late 1960s due to seismic soundings water was assumed to be beneath the ice sheet. In the 1970s, an airborne radar mapping project driven by the US, UK and Denmark revealed flat reflections at the bottom of the ice sheet which also suggested water beneath it. The existence of Lake Vostok was first noted in 1973 by scientists of the Scott Polar Research Institute . The full size of Lake Vostok, the biggest lake under the Antarctic ice sheet, was revealed by the European satellite ERS-1 in 1996 (Fig.1). Its surface covers an area of 14,000km2 and it has a water volume of about 5400km3 . The size is comparable to Lake Ontario in North America. [15,19]
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