Few days left before the start of the regular 57th Russian Antarctic Expedition

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The coming summer Antarctic season (at the south pole, we recall, is now the height of spring) prepares us to a sensational discovery: the researchers will doburit borehole 5G and "plunge" and finally, in the water of one of the most mysterious places on earth — Lake Vostok.

It’s fresh and warm water about the size of Lake Baikal, chetyrehkilometrovoy clad layer of ice. The lake is about 250 km long and about 50 km, the depth of up to 750 meters. The water temperature is warmer than in the lake — about 18 degrees. It is assumed that over the water surface of a dome-shaped ceiling vytayavshego ice. Visually, it can be presented as if on the same Baikal pulled a giant white dome tent. However, not all scientists agree with this theory. It is possible that there is no dome, and the lake water flush backs lower ice boundary.

Drilling rig at the station "Vostok"

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Be that as it may, one thing for sure: at chetyrehkilometrovoy height above the lake on a century-old ice has many years experience of the Russian Antarctic station "Vostok". In fact, in honor of her and called ice pond.

It is assumed that the lake fell to the ice captured about four thousand centuries ago. And the question is: who today lives in the primordial waters? — Worries scientists since the first day of opening of the lake. Undoubtedly, the simple layman’s imagination paints the most incredible and mysterious pictures from the past of our planet — ichthyosaurs, unseen monsters, etc. What do they actually do?


Lake opened 15 years ago, the Russians. And when probed the depths through radio and seismic waves, the received data on the size, shape and thickness of the reservoir of the ice shell above it, and the bottom relief.

The ice core was recovered from the Antarctic hole
Antarctic ice, however, drilled and before the opening of the East Lake, trying to get a continuous ice core — a cut of the glacier. His study helped to look into the past of the Earth and to understand how the climate was on the planet.

In 1959, the head of the station "Vostok" VS Ignatov, for the first time by applying heat drill reached a depth of 40 meters. It was a modest result. Only 17 years later, with the invention of improved tools, managed to make a hole in the ice for three and a half kilometers. Ice, extracted from this depth, brought the amazing details: it teemed with bacteria that are commonly found in hot geysers at a temperature of 60 degrees. It is assumed that at the bottom of Lake Vostok there are similar geothermal processes: melt water migrates along faults and fractures in the earth’s crust, and then returned to the lake and hot-rich inorganic compounds, which serve as food for bacteria. However, some biologists hope to find there is "something else" and do not lose hope that this "something", but rather unknown to us life forms preserved in the lake since then, when the Antarctic rampaged tropics.

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February 5, 2011

On this day at the station "Vostok" finished 56th Expeditionary season. The depth of the well has reached a point 3720.47 feet and, by all accounts, had a little bit. But, alas, the work had to stop and go back to their homeland.

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Valery Lukin
Then the head of the Antarctic expedition, deputy director of the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Valery Lukin wrote in the blog:

"The penetration of Lake Vostok is transferred to the 2011-12 season …"

According to his records indicated that the drilling, which began Jan. 2, 2011 at the level of 3650 meters, stopped and took 29 days. Despite the fact that the work was carried out in the well around the clock in three shifts of drillers, the average penetration does not exceed 2.43 meters, with planned before the seasonal operations of four meters.

Stopping work was a shock to the global scientific community.

— We are agog — said about Martin Siegert, head of the School of Earth Sciences, University of Edinburgh, expressing the opinion of all who have followed the drilling of the well.

But here in the Antarctic winter ends, and feeling that the bow next summer, we contacted the head of the St. Petersburg of the Russian Antarctic Expedition, Valery Lukin.

"SP": — Valeriy, when it starts up in Antarctica your 57th expedition?

— The expedition, which included drilling and our team is sent from St. Petersburg in October and is expected to arrive at the "East" in November.

"SP": — When planning to resume drilling wells famous?

— All you need to draft in December to work drilling equipment and repair wells. To do this, guys bring with them all the necessary units. Then we will have a serious geophysical measurements in the well itself, without which it is impossible to continue drilling. And, I think, January 2, 2012 launch rig.

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"SP": — How many meters left until the water?

— The exact thickness of the ice is unknown to us, but by our calculations still left to drill about 10 to 50 meters.

How it looks on the scheme
"SP": — How much time will it take?

— Well, think of it: the drilling rate of about two meters a day. I hope that at the end of January we will get finally to the water.

"SP": — What is the future scenario? You will take samples of the water in the well or lower the TV camera? What do you expect to find there?

— We have no idea what you can find there, but prehistoric monsters in the lake definitely not. Alas, the water samples we are not able to take — it is the task of the next season. The camera? No, she was lowered into the lake, too, we will not. What, other than water, can be seen in the darkness camera? Nothing …

"SP": — What then?

— In the first minutes after the passage of the sea ice chetyrehkilometrovoy goal of the operator is a very prosaic, but a very important one: he must be quick to react and remove the drill until it vmerz ice. Secondly, it is important to strictly observe the special technique of security not to contaminate the lake drilling fluid consisting of a mixture of kerosene and Freon. However, our method adopted by the international scientific community, and even already tested by the Danes in Greenland. Biologists have found him acceptable.

"SP": — When the scientists will be able to look at the lake water through the eyepiece of the microscope?

— I think in 2013. That’s when we plan to remove the quick-frozen core clean lake water for biological and chemical analysis. By the way, we have to do is ready the appropriate equipment and instruments. And in 2014, we expect to take samples of mud from the lake bottom.

"SP": — Valery, readers will not understand me if I did not ask: How, in your opinion, could have appeared in the Middle Ages accurate maps of Antarctica without ice?

— And who and where I saw these cards?

"SP": — They are filled with the appropriate forums on the Internet. An
d the authors of many television documentaries devoted to the Antarctic, certainly remember the cards like a proven fact and witness aliens visiting Earth?

— I believe that these cards do not exist in the world. At least, no scientist — cartographer, historian, geographer — not seen them in museums or libraries. It is still not written any serious scientific work on the subject. I think if these cards have existed in reality, the long-enterprising people would have arranged some traveling exhibitions, and showed them around the world. I think this is fake. As with everything to do with the notorious "Base 211" allegedly created by the Nazis during World War II under the ice of Antarctica using submarines. And with the current development of technologies to build a base in the depths of Antarctica is problematic, and only in the 40 years of the last century, and even more so.

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— So Antarctic Lake Vostok and look from space
— … By the way, Learn at the beginning of the year posted the conditions of competition on the theme: Guess well depth of Lake Vostok. The winner of the head of the Antarctic expedition promised a bottle of water from the relict lake. Results will be announced in early February 2012.

From the file "joint venture"

Valery Lukin — since 1970 working in the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, having started as a research assistant — oceanographer to the head of one of the leading Russian Antarctic expedition.

In 1981-89 yy led the scientific drifting station "North Pole — 22" and the "North Pole-29". Working in the department of oceanography, Lukin was a participant in 9 high-latitude expedition "North". He made more than 1,000 primary landing on a drifting ice.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the medal "for valor." In 1991 he was appointed head of the first drifting Antarctic research station "Waddell -1" with a mixed Russian-American personnel. The results of this station on the international program made a significant contribution to the study of the Southern Ocean.

In 1992 he was appointed head of the Russian Antarctic expedition. His work is closely related to the coordination of international research efforts in Antarctica, aided by extensive scientific and organizational ties with members of the Antarctic Treaty.

Is a member of the Board of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, in which he represents the interests of Russia in the field of providing expeditionary research programs RAE.

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