Lake Vostok, Antartica: Russian scientists have been radio silent for 5 days

4 posts


By Anthony Garreffra
Tweak Town

First off, some back story. This will end up as a mini-editorial, but some of you will find this very interesting. Lake Vostok is a large (10,000km2), presumably fresh water body located under some 4km of ice in East Antarctica. The lake is not some little pool of water, its a gigantic, 250km long and 50km wide.


Because the lake is under kilometres of frozen ice, it has been untouched by todays technology and hence, the hands of man. The contents of this secret under-the-ice lake, have not seen the light of day for more than 20 million years. Because of this long period of pure isolation, it is believed that the water inside Lake Vostok could contain new, never-before-seen lifeforms, and unique geochemical processes.

For the past five-plus years, Russia and the United States have been seeking to probe Vostok in order to discover its underlying secrets from this pure, pristine body of water. The problem associated with such an untouched body of water is that as soon as it is discovered, tested and exposed, we would have contaminated it in multiple ways. Because of its long period of isolation, it cannot be explored without the introduction of the outside world, i.e. us.

NASA and the US Space Agency have both expressed interested in penetrating Lake Vostok in order to search for microbes that might be similar to those on other planets. NASA's Chric Mackay has said:

How the bacteria get energy (to survive) is an important question. The lake could be an analog to sub-ice Europa or subsurface Mars where conditions are similar.​

Another issue with Lake Vostok is the sheer temperature, some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded on Earth have been at Lake Vostok. The coldest temperature ever observed on Earth was recorded there on 21 July 1983, at an astonishing minus 83-degrees celcius (minus 128-degrees fahrenheit). The reason the lake stays in liquid form is the from the geothermal heat from the Earth's interior heats the bottom of the lake up, to keep it from solidifying, with the ice sheet on top insulating the lake from cold temperatures on the surface.

Fast forward to today from Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) have been their closest the the waters surface, with temperatures dropping to minus 40-degrees celcius, the team has to work fast before they have to abandon the efforts until the Southern Hemisphere summer comes around again, in December of this year.

This is where things go Hollywood.

The team has not been heard from for over 5 days now, according to FoxNews. Dr. John Priscu, Professor of Ecology at Montana State University spoke of the news to through e-mail. The team are only 40 feet from their goal, winter arrives in the coming weeks, where temperatures dramatically drop, sometimes by double what they are now.

The question is now: where are the scientists? Why have they not been heard from for 5 days? Surely there's alternate methods of communication, Internet, Satellite, etc. Either something catastrophic has happened, or they've discovered something and are now covering it up. A conspiracy? Say it isn't so! Well, it happens more than you think, and here's a possibility.

Surely you'd have read this article, and thought, 'hmm, conspiracy, yeah right!' Well, consider this: President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is currently in Antarctica, with Al Gore, and a host of scientists. That's not all, the exploration also includes famous Avatar, Terminator and Aliens director James Cameron, as well as billionaires Richard Branson and Ted Turner. They are reportedly down there to "explore the melting ice cap in Antarctica and discuss how the nations of the world can unite in realistic action against Climate change."

Considering we're headed into a Solar Maximum this year, with more solar flares (M- and X-class flares) hitting us, scientists of the world think a few piddly cars (compared to the power of the Universe, and our Sun) is creating "global warming". Others included in the exploration are:

James Hansen from NASA, Yao Tandong from China, Christiana Figueres from UNFCCC and scientists from Harvard and leading universities in Europe. The exploration ends on February 6th.

Is it just a coincidence that all of those super-powerful people are there? And the Russian team goes radio silent for 5 days?

I hope you've found this interesting, and learnt something new, and if there's anyone with information or someone 'on the inside' or 'in the know' that could help us with more information on the scientists and the 5 days of radio silence, drop me an e-mail!

edit: my 30 second MS Paint contribution

Lake Vostok, a German Nazi base? Russian news agency floats odd theory

By Elizabeth Flock
When state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti released a report Monday that said Russian scientists had drilled into the deep, dark and previously untouched Lake Vostok , a curious detail was buried farther down in the story :
“An old theory [says] that German Nazis may have built a secret base there as early as the 1930s.”​
Vostok Station. (Courtesy of NOAA) Ria Novosti reported that near the end of the World War II, the Nazis moved to the South Pole and began constructing a base at Lake Vostok. The agency quotes German Grand Admiral Karl Dontiz, who apparently said in 1943: “Germany's submarine fleet is proud that it created an unassailable fortress for the Fuehrer on the other end of the world,” in Antarctica.
Is there any truth to the Russian rumors? Or is this a case of a news agency implementing Godwin’s law — the longer a discussion goes, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis approaches.
Taken another way: Why isn’t it enough to relish in the sheer awe of reaching 2.2 miles below the surface of Antarctica to explore a hidden lake?

Discovery News scoffs at the idea of a Nazi base there, calling it “ Nazi paranoia ” and “World War II conspiracy theories” from Moscow. The Moscow Times dismisses the idea as just “ rumors .” Most news sites, including The Post, ignored Ria Novosti’s theory.
But several blogs probed further, pointing out that the theory had previously appeared in a horror novel.
In “ At the Mountains of Madness ,” horror writer H.P. Lovecraft describes a similar secret German Nazi base called “Neuschwabenland,” located in a real region in the Antarctic known as Queen Maud’s Land on most maps. On Google Maps, Queen Maud’s Land today looks like this, with glaciers and more recent campsites indicated with blue markers:
(Google Maps) Queen Maud’s Land is located farther north in Antarctica than Lake Vostok.
But while “Neuschwabenland” appears in several horror novels, the Big Think suggests that it may also have actually existed:
Ever since it achieved unification in 1871, Germany craved colonies as a matter of national pride. But by the late nineteenth century, most of the “uncivilized world” was already carved up by established European powers.​
Ambitions . . . were turned to the last great area of the globe that was not yet colonized: Antarctica — big, cold and empty. At the beginning of 1939, a Nazi expedition explored a hitherto uncharted area of the Antarctic. By foot and plane, the Nazis surveyed an area . . . totaling 600.000 sq. km. They called it “Neuschwabenland.”​
While the Germans drew up a map of the possible territory of Neuschwabenland, and even dropped German flags on a possible base camp, no official activities were ever registered in the whole of Antarctica during World War II, according to the Big Think.

“A plethora of rumors maintains that Neuschwabenland wasn’t abandoned by the Nazis after the first expedition,” the Big Think writes.

But for now, the rumors of a base camp on Lake Vostok and Neuschwabenland will remain just that — rumors. Or the setting for a future James Bond movie.

This is sloppy writing, Lovecraft died 2 years before the Nazis officially surveyed Antarctica.


There is a possibility Nazi U-Boats or later submarines found a way into the river and lake system trapped below the ice.