15 January 2014, 13:34

Drilling facilities that pried open Antarctic Lake Vostok becomes monument

Drilling facilities that pried open Antarctic Lake Vostok becomes monument

The G5 drilling facilities at the Russian Vostok Antarctic station, which helped in prying open the subglacial Lake Vostok, has become a historic monument on the continent, head of the Russian Antarctic expedition Valery Lukin reports. Participants of the 59th Russian Antarctic expedition have installed a memorial plate on the drilling complex, which informs about the recognition of the drilling equipment as a historic monument and its naming after Boris Kudryashov, Professor of the Leningrad Mining Institute, who had lead the research work for creating the technique and technology of ice drilling, ITAR-TASS reports.

Lukin has noted that the decision to assign to the drilling facilities the status as a "historical monument" was made at the meeting of the Advisory Council of the Antarctic Treaty held in Brussels in May 2013.

According to him, this is "the result of the recognition of the achievements of the Russian research of Antarctica by the international scientific community" and of the unique operations on opening the subglacial Lake Vostok performed by Russian scientists on February 5, 2012.

The Russian Vostok station is the only wintering station in the depths of the sixth continent. The lowest temperature on the planet – negative 89.2 per degrees Celsius – was registered here; air rarefaction is the same as in a 5-kilometer-high mountain region. The time it takes to adapt to these harsh conditions takes from two weeks to a month. The station is situated at a distance of 1.26 kilometers from the coast at a height of 3,488 meters above sea level.

In February 2012, Russian scientists were the first in the world to reach the waters of Lake Vostok, which remained hidden beneath the ice of Antarctica for over millions of years. The drilling of a well at the Russian Antarctic station Vostok, under which the lake is located, has been intermittently under way since 1990. On January 10, 2013, specialists extracted the first sample of transparent ice from the well.

Bacteria, which cannot be related to any known subkingdom of bacteria, were found in water samples taken from the lake.

Voice of Russia, TASS

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