Monday, August 26, 2013

Two videos and a geography lesson

I was checking the weather for a Sunday afternoon hike.

In a few months we will be seeing this scene again!

The land beneath the ice

The Russian Vostok Station is 860 miles from the South Pole and 11,400 feet (2,000 more than South Pole) in elevation. They are in the process of deep core drilling to reach Lake Vostok which lies some 13,000 feet below the ice surface. The lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was at Vostok Station in 1983 at -128 F whereas the lowest at the South Pole was -117.
The arrows point towards the 30 feet a year of glacial ice movement.

Vostok Station

The bedrock beneath the ice.

More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Over time, Gondwana gradually broke apart and Antarctica as we know it today was formed around 25 million years ago. Antarctica was not always cold, dry and covered in ice sheets. At a number of points in its long history it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests, and inhabited by various ancient life-forms.


  1. Hi Mike! These photos look familiar and I bet they took some time to post. The light is going to be a welcome sight and the temp should be a bit warmer....okay, still cold. Jocelyn and her friends are in Florida trying to survive the 90+ degrees and the bright sun. Take care! Andee

  2. Wow. This is a great post. First off...nice walk outside...the camera can't even shoot out enough light to duel with the utter darkness...

    Love the information about the continent's history. The chart showing the various levels of life at certain depths was really mysterious when it got to c) pollen and then e) unknown ... Pretty sure that's where "the thing" is chillin out till it makes another movie! Prehistoric Antarctica seems to fit pretty snug in the super continent. Another example of proof that the only constant is change (even if it takes millions of years). Tropical climate with forests and dinosaurs becomes stuck all alone on the bottom of the earth and becomes the coldest climate. Ima look around for info regarding the ancient dinosaurs / animals that lived there during prehistoric times.

  3. The geography and how the land split off from Australia is really interesting. Perfect hiding spot for the Thing.

    A team of Russian scientists has successfully retrieved its first sample from Antarctica's 20-million-year-old Lake Vostok, which is buried under nearly 4000 meters of ice.

    The team, from Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, had completed drilling to the surface of the lake in February 2012. To prevent contamination during sampling, the scientists devised a plan to drill just to the lake's surface, but then allow the pressurized lake water to rise into the borehole and freeze there. They returned this Antarctic summer to retrieve the frozen core—and on 10 January, the team told Ria Novosti, the researchers collected their prize.

    "The first core of transparent lake ice, 2 meters long, was obtained on January 10 at a depth of 3,406 meters," declared the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in a statement. "Inside it was a vertical channel filled with white bubble-rich ice."

    Next up: Analysis of the core itself, which many hope will contain evidence of microbial life.