Life under ice

Lake Vostok may harbor ingredients for a complex subglacial ecosystem

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 15:00 PM August 23, 2013

Even by Antarctic standards, the Lake Vostok research station is inhospitable. The outpost at the heart of the frozen continent holds the record for the lowest naturally occurring temperature ever observed on Earth. Scientists commonly describe the place as punishing, unforgiving, the most desolate place on the planet.

That’s nothing. Nearly 4,000 meters below the station, beneath the crushing East Antarctic ice sheet, sits an enormous body of water. Lake Vostok has existed for millennia in da...

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