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Drilling Begins At Lake Hidden Beneath Antarctic 131

Posted by timothy
from the new-places-to-advertise dept.
New submitter stonetony writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "A team of 12 scientists and engineers has begun work at remote Lake Ellsworth. They are using a high-pressure hose and sterilised water at near boiling point to blast a passage through more than two miles of ice. The aim is to analyse ice waters isolated for up to 500,000 years. The team of 12 scientists and engineers is using sterilised water at near boiling point to blast a passage through the ice to waters isolated for up to half a million years. The process of opening a bore-hole is expected to last five days and will be followed by a rapid sampling operation before the ice refreezes."
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Drilling Begins At Lake Hidden Beneath Antarctic

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  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @06:52PM (#42281321)
    Is there any chance that they're using sterile water heated to almost the boiling point to melt a passage through ice to get to water isolated for up to 5e5 years?
  • by orson_of_fort_worth (871181) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @06:53PM (#42281325)
    The summary wasn't clear so my questions are: Is the water sterilized? How hot is the water in the hose? How long has the lake water been isolated? Also, Is the water sterilized? How hot is the water in the hose? How long has the lake water been isolated?
  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @06:55PM (#42281365) Journal
    I dodn't even need to red it twice to see that a team of scientists is using is sterilised water at near boiling point.

    Indeed; using sterilised water at near boiling point.
  • Great. Finally going to find a Stargate. Abydos here we come...
  • The first results are going to be available next week. Hmmm. December 21st maybe.

    How did the Mayans know someone would drill through two miles of ice to release something that will destroy the world?
  • by morcego (260031) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:08PM (#42281537)

    Mountains of Madness, anyway ?

    • Thought the same thing. Of course Prometheus is also applicable and the AvP jokes are already coming up.

      • by morcego (260031)

        Prometheus ? No, that never happened. Just like there are only 3 Starwars movies, and only 1 Highlander.

  • It was written that way to catch people who only read half the summary. It's simple math: 2 * 50% = 100%! Foolproof.

  • they is gonna sterilize the lake, contaminating it with sterilized water....

    In other news more rain forest are being destroyed to build condos.....

    • by crutchy (1949900)
      i live near a bunch of power stations, which use highly sterilized and purified water to turn to superheated steam to drive the turbines, except that if you drank such water it would strip all the nutrients out of your body and kill you.... purified and sterilized water isn't always as good as it seems (it may well kill any microorganisms the scientists are trying to discover and study)
      • You'd have to drink a lot of purified water for it to kill you.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        if you drank such water it would strip all the nutrients out of your body and kill you

        Do you have a credible link to that obvious bullshit [wikipedia.org] statement? I've seen it before, but it makes absolutely no sense at all. [thenakedscientists.com]

        They're using sterilized water so as not to pollute the lake itself with organisms or minerals.

        My old man always told me "don't believe nothin' you hear and only half of what you see." You should follow that advice; whoever told you distilled water would strip the nutrients out of your body and kill

        • by Palamos (1379347)
          That was a very interesting use of the double negative by your old man!
        • by crutchy (1949900)
          funny the person who told me that purified (i never mentioned distilled) water can kill you works in a power station chem lab... i guess you must be the usual armchair expert though... so if you never seen a power station you wouldn't beleive they exist either? what about electrons? bet you never seen those.... pffft what a fuckass
        • by crutchy (1949900)

          They're using sterilized water so as not to pollute the lake itself with organisms or minerals.

          You don't seem to know much about how a power station works (not surprising by the rest of your rant).

          There are two types of water used in a power station; for cooling and for steam, and the two are physically isolated.
          Cooling water comes from lakes or rivers, is used in heat exchangers to turn low pressure steam (isolated in pipes) back into water.
          Most of the water used for steam is recirculated, so it doesn't end up in any lakes anyway.
          The plumes of steam that you see coming out of cooling tower

  • DUPE (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tastecicles (1153671)

    I posted a submission on this story a WEEK AGO.

  • Cthulhu or Elder Ones.
  • Awesome. Awakening Cthulhu from its icy slumber right on schedule!

    Should give it just enough time to consume all our souls by midnight 12/21/2012 after it's awakening and release. Wait.. This drilling project wasn't funded by a kickstarter project was it?

    • by AaronLS (1804210) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:58PM (#42282205)

      If not, someone should perhaps start some projects like this, such that doomsday cults funnel their money into useful research projects. Win-win for everyone, unless the cult turns out to be right.

      • by AaronLS (1804210)

        Just to clarify, the second win is because the cult used their money for something useful, and has less money left to do silly things with, such as buying Nike's, barbiturates, and Vodka.

  • You're just as sarcastic and snarky as I am. Merry Christmas, y'all!
  • Hadn't the Russians done this already, on their side of Antartica?

    Or is this a different subglacial lake?

    • by gagol (583737)
      Russians did it at lake Vostok.
    • Re:Redux? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@gd a r g a ud.net> on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:15AM (#42285271) Homepage
      Well, technically the russians haven't quite breached the lake. It's ongoing right now and here's what I've followed so far:
      The layer of ice just above the lake is refrozen water (and not compressed snow from above). They already analyzed that without finding anything significant (a US lab found lots of stuff but the word is that it's all contaminated DNA, a french lab found only one candidate piece of DNA, that ice is 10 times cleaner than the cleanest water we can make in a lab).
      So a few days ago the russians breached the last remaining ice after using a sterilized drill. They then withdrew the drill and immediately lowered the pressure of the drilling fluid, allowing the water of the lake to raise into the hole for 600 meters. This water froze quickly. Now they are drilling again this freshly frozen ice which will be analyzed in a special very clean lab. I just don't know how they can drill again 600m of ice without deviating more than 10cm (the diameter of the core).
      Official results should start coming in about a month.
      • by courcoul (801052)

        BTW, this Russian effort has to be admired for its persistence. They've been patiently going at it when money and weather permits on Antartic summers since 20 years ago or more.

        • by dargaud (518470)
          They've been drilling more or less inside the same hole (there are a few deviations due to stuck drills) since 1959 with a bunch of years off for lack of funding.
      • by wiedzmin (1269816)

        that ice is 10 times cleaner than the cleanest water we can make in a lab)

        So... if we combine pure hydrogen and pure oxygen to create water in the lab... that ice is 10 times cleaner than that, eh? Right on, right on.

        • by dargaud (518470)
          Yes, because you can't do what you just said. Water has the (un)fortunate effect of reacting with almost anything it gets in contact with: CO2, metals, viruses suspended in air, deposits on glass surface even after they've been cleaned with acid and liquid O2, etc... and absorbing it. The water in the lake is purer because the only thing it comes in contact with is pure ice (and there's probably some segregation process going on inside). Anyway I was at a conference with the guys who are trying to analyze t
  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:34PM (#42282613)
    Release the kracken..... release the kraken
  • oblig (Score:4, Funny)

    by kid_wonder (21480) <public@noSPam.kscottklein.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:37PM (#42283121) Homepage

    in soviet russia the summary repeats the summary ..

    oh wait a seco...

  • I saw John Carpenter's "The Thing" and we all know how this will end with a half-assed prequel!!

  • As long as the Arctic Expedition commander isn't an ancestor of Adelaide Brooke, we should be fine. If that turns out to be the case, better hope the TARDIS shows up. Either way, just to be safe, nobody drinks the water or runs irrigation with it. K?
  • Well then, I guess I've figured out why the world will end on December 21st...

  • Just wait a few years and let nature do it for you....

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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