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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • Subglacial lakes—Antarctica—History
  • Subglacial lakes—Antarctica—Discovery and exploration
  • Subglacial lakes—Polar regions—History
  • Subglacial lakes—Polar regions—Discovery and exploration
  • Aquatic ecology—Antarctica
  • VostokSubglacialLake
  • Antarctica
  • deepicedrilling
  • biogeochemistry
  • life
  • extremophiles

Index Terms

  • 0702 Cryosphere: Permafrost
  • 0793 Cryosphere: Biogeochemistry
  • 0746 Cryosphere: Lakes
  • 0456 Biogeosciences: Life in extreme environments



Vostok Subglacial Lake: Details of Russian plans/activities for drilling and sampling

V. Lukin and S. Bulat

The Russian Federation has developed a national project involving the drilling and sampling of Vostok Subglacial Lake, East Antarctica. The objective is to explore this extreme icy environment, using a variety of techniques to identify the forms and levels of life that exist there. The project is funded by the Russian Federal Service ROSHYDROMET. In the 2009/2010 season, drilling operations were restarted at a depth of 3559 m via new borehole 5G-2, successfully reaching a new depth of approximately 3650 m. New accretion ice, including the inclusion-rich “thermophile-containing” horizon (around 3608 m) was again recovered and will be studied to assess the previous scenario and findings. In 2010/2011, the drill will carefully continue to deepen the borehole leaving a 10- to 15-m ice cork and will in season 2011/2012 enter the lake, allowing water to rise up dozens of meters within borehole 5G-2 and subsequently freeze. During the same or following season (2012/2013), borehole 5G-2 will be redrilled to acquire rapidly frozen lake water for complex investigations. In the following season, 2013/2014, a special set of strictly decontaminated biophysical instruments, developed at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, will be lowered into the water body, with a battery of ocean observatory sensors, cameras, fluorimeters-spectrometers, and special water samplers on board several submersible titan modules. Such activities are in line with environmental stewardship in the exploration of unique aquatic environments under the Antarctic ice sheet.

Citation: Lukin, V., and S. Bulat (2011), Vostok Subglacial Lake: Details of Russian plans/activities for drilling and sampling, in Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 192, edited by M. J. Siegert, M. C. Kennicutt II, and R. A. Bindschadler, pp. 187–197, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2010GM000951.

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