Buried Antarctic Lake May Hide Prehistoric or Unknown Life

Hat tip to kmo for this horrifying newsflash:


For 15 million years, an icebound lake has remained sealed deep beneath Antarctica’s frozen crust, possibly hiding prehistoric or unknown life. Now Russian scientists are on the brink of piercing through to its secrets.

“There’s only a bit left to go,” Alexei Turkeyev, chief of the Russian polar Vostok Station, told Reuters by satellite phone. His team has drilled for weeks in a race to reach the lake, 3,750 meters (12,000 ft) beneath the polar ice cap, before the end of the brief Antarctic summer.

Scientists suspect the lake’s depths will reveal new life forms, show how the planet was before the ice age and how life evolved. It could offer a glimpse at what conditions for life exist in the similar extremes of Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa, or beneath the cryptic and eternal glaciers of distant and sunless Yuggoth, whom mortal men call Pluto.

Okay, I added that last bit myself. Just kidding. Scientists are blissfully unaware of the entities lurking in the Plutonian depths. They are expecting to find something much more akin to ancient earthly life in ice-covered lake …  such as Godzilla.

The discovery of Antarctica’s hidden network of subglacial lakes via satellite imagery in the late 1990s has sparked a new exploratory fervor among scientists the world over.

U.S. and British explorers are on the trail of Russia’s scientists with missions to probe other buried lakes, some of the last unexplored reaches of the planet. […]

Experts say the ice sheet acts like a duvet, trapping in the Earth’s geothermal heat and preventing the lakes from freezing. […]

Lake Vostok, about the size of Lake Baikal in Siberia, is the largest, deepest and most isolated of Antarctica’s 150 subglacial lakes. It is supersaturated with oxygen, resembling no other known environment on Earth. […]

“The Russians are leading the way with a torch,” said John Priscu of Montana State University, a chief scientist with the U.S. program to explore another Antarctic lake.

Beneath the endless white landscape, Priscu suspects creatures may lurk, far from the sunlight, around thermal vents in the depths of Lake Vostok.

I love it when newspapermen use words like fervor when referring to scientists and lurk when referring to what they might find. Real science is more fascinating than the stuff we science fiction writers make up, on account of our stuff is fiction.

But someone should set a story in this locale.

Unless its already been done…? I believe that is John Priscu and Professor William Dyer in the picture below.

Prehistoric or Unknown Life Forms

A quick Internet search reveals that, yes, indeed, Hive [Elder Signs Press], by Tim Curran is a sequel of sorts to At The Mountains of Madness. In involves an expedition using an experimental submersible to breach Lake Vostok, a location of an underwater city or colony of Elder Things.

I have not had the pleasure of reading this book, but my congratulations to the author for incorporating this eerie setting.