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Hidden Lake Beneath Antarctic Ice May Contain Numerous Life Forms

Apr 28, 2016 01:09 PM EDT
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A ribbon-shaped lake measuring about 100 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide, connecting to a canyon stream roughly 1,000 kilometers long, was found hiding deep below the icy surface of Antarctica.
(Photo : Victoria Nicholson/WWTW via Getty Images)

A ribbon-shaped lake measuring about 100 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide, connecting to a canyon stream roughly 1,000 kilometers long, was found hiding deep below the icy surface of Antarctica.

The discovery of the hidden lake was first published in the journal Geology late last year. It was discovered after the researchers found discerning faint grooves in the frozen region of Princess Elizabeth Land in the eastern part of Antarctica with the use of satellite imaging and radio-echo sounding methods.

"Our analysis provides the first evidence that a huge canyon and a possible lake are present beneath the ice in Princess Elizabeth Land," said lead researcher Dr. Stewart Jamieson, from the Department of Geography at Durham University in the UK, in a statement. "It's astonishing to think that such large features could have avoided detection for so long."

But the discovery was only based on the surface of the region during that time. It is only recently that the researchers were able to penetrate the thick ice in the area by using radar to collect data from the hidden lake.

According to Fox News, the data gathered will be reviewed next month, but the researchers are pretty optimistic that it will have a positive result and will confirm the existence of the new subglacial lake.

This is not the first time that researchers discovered the hidden lake beneath the icy surface of the Antarctica.

All of the hidden lakes discovered in the past have revealed signs of life forms, and so there is also a high possibility that the newly discovered hidden lake, if confirmed, may also be teeming with microbes and single-cell organisms.

The location of the hidden lake is also making the researchers jump off their feet. It is only about 100 kilometers away from the nearest research base, making it more accessible, unlike other discovered subglacial lakes that are located in the remote areas of the continent.

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