The Uncharted Waters Beneath the Ice




Antarctic is known for being earth’s largest single mass of ice. It covers almost 14 million sq km and holds around 61 per cent of earth’s freshwater. However, wide networks of canyons, waterways and lakes that have been discovered buried under the ice sheet have captured the interest of people and are now the focus of novel scientific research. Subglacial lakes are large pockets of water that lie beneath a glacier or the ice sheet and are formed due to geothermal heat that is trapped by the insulating effect of the ice. These lakes may have existed since the continent became glaciated. There are around 400 subglacial lakes scattered across the Antarctic continent (Siegert et al., 2016).These subglacial lakes are proving to be attractive models to explore fundamental themes in limnology as well as have direct global implications such as landscape−lake interactions, the viability and adaptation of organisms to environmental extremes and subglacial aquatic environments as a planetary storehouse of ancient microbes and past climate records (Vincent and Laybourn-Parry, 2008)


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