Physical, chemical and biological processes in Lake Vostok and other Antarctic subglacial lakes

  title={Physical, chemical and biological processes in Lake Vostok and other Antarctic subglacial lakes},
  author={Martin J. Siegert and J. Cynan Ellis-Evans and Martyn Tranter and Christoph Mayer and Jean Robert Petit and Andrey N. Salamatin and John C. Priscu},
Over 70 lakes have now been identified beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Although water from none of the lakes has been sampled directly, analysis of lake ice frozen (accreted) to the underside of the ice sheet above Lake Vostok, the largest of these lakes, has allowed inferences to be made on lake water chemistry and has revealed small quantities of microbes. These findings suggest that Lake Vostok is an extreme, yet viable, environment for life. All subglacial lakes are subject to high… Expand
The hydrochemistry of Lake Vostok and the potential for life in Antarctic subglacial lakes
Our understanding of Lake Vostok, the huge subglacial lake beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, has improved recently through the identification of key physical and chemical interactions between theExpand
Lakes beneath the ice sheet: The occurrence, analysis, and future exploration of Lake Vostok and other Antarctic subglacial lakes
▪ Abstract Airborne geophysics has been used to identify more than 100 lakes beneath the ice sheets of Antarctica. The largest, Lake Vostok, is more than 250 km in length and 1 km deep. SubglacialExpand
Reviewing the origin of subglacial Lake Vostok and its sensitivity to ice sheet changes
The history of Lake Vostok, the huge East Antarctic subglacial lake, is critical to the unique biota expected in this extreme environment. One theory is that the lake existed prior to the mid-MioceneExpand
Vostok Subglacial Lake: A Review of Geophysical Data Regarding Its Discovery and Topographic Setting
Vostok Subglacial Lake is the largest and best known sub-ice lake in Antarctica. The establishment of its water depth (>500 m) led to an appreciation that such environments may be habitats for lifeExpand
Source of Lake Vostok Cations Constrained with Strontium Isotopes
Lake Vostok is the largest sub-glacial lake in Antarctica. The primary source of our current knowledge regarding the geochemistry and biology of the lake comes from the analysis of refrozen lakeExpand
Ice cover, landscape setting, and geological framework of Lake Vostok, East Antarctica
Abstract Lake Vostok, located beneath more than 4 km of ice in the middle of East Antarctica, is a unique subglacial habitat and may contain microorganisms with distinct adaptations to such anExpand
Subglacial Aquatic Environments: A Focus of 21st Century Antarctic Science
Antarctic Subglac Geophysical Mon Copyright 2011 b 10.1029/2010GM In 1996, growing evidence suggested a massive lake of liquid water had pooled beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. This featureExpand
Contributions of an ancient evaporitic-type reservoir to subglacial Lake Vostok chemistry
Abstract We present here the first comprehensive study of the chemical composition of accretion ice from Lake Vostok. Ion chromatographic analyses were performed on samples obtained along the deeperExpand
Rapid discharge connects Antarctic subglacial lakes
Ice-sheet surface elevation changes in central East Antarctica are presented that are interpreted to represent rapid discharge from a subglacial lake, and it is suggested that entire sub glacial drainage basins may be flushed periodically. Expand
Dynamic flows create potentially habitable conditions in Antarctic subglacial lakes
It is demonstrated that most lakes are in a regime of vigorous turbulent vertical convection, enabling suspension of spherical particulates with diameters up to 36 micrometers, which supports efficient mixing of nutrient- and oxygen-enriched meltwater derived from the overlying ice, which is essential for biome support within the water column. Expand


More than 200 meters of lake ice above subglacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica.
Isotopic data suggest that subglacial Lake Vostok is an open system with an efficient circulation of water that was formed during periods that were slightly warmer than those of the past 420,000 years. Expand
Water exchange between the subglacial Lake Vostok and the overlying ice sheet
An analysis of the ice-sheet structure from airborne 60-MHz radar studies indicates that distinct zones of basal ice loss and accretion occur at the ice–water interface, which indicates that significant quantities of water are exchanged between the base of theice sheet and the lake waters. Expand
Origin and fate of Lake Vostok water frozen to the base of the East Antarctic ice sheet
A reconstruction of the ice flow trajectories for the Vostok core site is presented, using ice-penetrating radar data and Global Positioning System measurements of surface ice velocity to find that the ice sheet has a significant along-lake flow component, persistent since the Last Glacial Maximum. Expand
Constraints on hydrothermal processes and water exchange in Lake Vostok from helium isotopes
Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica, is covered by the East Antarctic ice sheet, which varies in thickness between 3,750 and 4,100 m (ref. 1). At a depth of 3,539 m in the drillExpand
Ice formation in subglacial Lake Vostok, Central Antarctica
Abstract The investigation of chemical and isotopic properties in the lake ice from the Vostok ice core gives clues to the mechanisms involved in ice formation within the lake. A small lake waterExpand
Isolation of bacteria and 16S rDNAs from Lake Vostok accretion ice.
The recovery of bacterial isolates belonging to the Brachybacteria, Methylobacterium, Paenibacillus and Sphingomonas lineages are reported from a sample of melt water from this accretion ice that originated 3593 m below the surface. Expand
Antarctic subglacial lakes
Abstract Antarctic subglacial lakes were first identified by Robin et al. (1970) after airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) investigations of the ice-sheet interior. Recently, satellite altimetry wasExpand
Microorganisms in the accreted ice of Lake Vostok, Antarctica.
Analysis of accreted ice data suggest that Lake Vostok may contain viable microorganisms, and at least a portion of the microbial assemblage was viable, as determined by the respiration of carbon-14-labeled acetate and glucose substrates during incubations at 3 degrees C and 1 atmosphere. Expand
Geomicrobiology of subglacial ice above Lake Vostok, Antarctica.
Bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA genes revealed low diversity in the gene population, and phylotypes were closely related to extant members of the alpha- and beta-Proteobacteria and the Actinomycetes. Expand
A large deep freshwater lake beneath the ice of central East Antarctica
IN 1974–75, an airborne radio-echo survey of ice depths over central East Antarctica led to the discovery of a sub-ice lake of unknown depth and composition, with an area of about 10,000km2 and lyingExpand