As the use of overhead radar equipment reveals more and more about the planet, laboratory notebooks are filling up with speculations on what has been found. Just when people thought there was no undiscovered territory left in the world, scientists reveal that they have found what looks to be a subglacial lake in the Antarctic. Geographically speaking, this is huge. What is even bigger is the potential for new life forms to be found in the lake.
Hidden in the Ice
Over the years, several scientific discoveries have been brought to light after exploring the ice. In fact, ice happens to be one of the things that preserves historic items the best. Lakes are no exception. Because the Antarctic offers subglacial lakes like this one, it makes it possible for previously unknown lifeforms to be found. The ice doesn’t just preserve things as they are. It also prevents those things from migrating to other places. Yet, life is one long process of development, so it is entirely possible that life forms that were never exposed to anything but this lake not only exist, but have gone through a significant evolutionary process in an undisturbed manner.
The Antarctic has always been an area that has fascinated scientists. Left largely untouched by humans, it offers a glimpse into a world governed solely by nature rather than the hand of man. The reason for the lack of human involvement is the same reason that scientific research is such a challenge in this area. The cold and ice don’t allow for ease of survival or transportation. This means most of the gear and survival tools have to be brought in.
In the case of this “lake,” the location is about as optimal as it gets. It is located just 62 miles away from a research center, making it more accessible than most of the finds in the Antarctic.
Dimensions and Potential
This subglacial lake was seen from the air though radar images, so it is possible to predict the size of it. As information currently stands, it is thought to be about 87 miles long and 12 miles wide. That leaves plenty of room for life forms to develop, thrive, and evolve over millions of years. It might also mean that there are even more geographical finds when one gets below the surface. There may be things like caves and subglacial rivers that simply can’t be detected from the surface. For now, that’s all just speculation, but that’s half the fun of scientific research.
You can bet that scientists are vying for a spot in the research project that will follow this discovery. In fact, you can almost hear the pens scratching the pages of a scientific notebook as potential explorers prepare their questions and theories concerning this new geographical find. Chances are good that the ones who get to take a closer look won’t be disappointed. After all, this is an area largely untouched by man, and it isn’t every day that people get to catch a glimpse of nature left to its own devices.