Scientists studying Antarctica report they may have found a massive, hidden lake beneath the glacial landscape that could harbor a host of unique lifeforms.
"We’ve seen these strange, linear channels on the surface, and are inferring these are above massive, 1000-kilometer-long channels, and there’s a relatively large subglacial lake there too," researcher Martin Siegert of Imperial College London told New Scientist
Siegart and his fellow researchers published their initial findings months ago in the journal Geology, and expanded on their analysis at the European Geosciences Meeting in Vienna this month, Discovery News reported
"We’re meeting in May to look at the data," he said. "It will be a very good test of our hypothesis about the lake and channels."
Data suggests that the lake, if it exists, would likely be smaller than the continent's largest one, Lake Vostok, which measures 160 by 30 miles — twice as big as Utah's Great Salt Lake.
The new lake, however, located in the Princess Elizabeth Land region near the continent's eastern shore, could offer easier access than Lake Vostok, as it is closer to an established research station.
Likely ribbon-shaped, the new lake is thought to be 87 miles long and 12 miles wide.
"It’s the last un-researched part of Antarctica, so it’s very exciting news, but it’s still tentative pending full confirmation," said Bryn Hubbard of the University of Aberystwyth, U.K.
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