A study published in the journal Global Biochemical Cycles describes non-Earth-like environmental features in the Antarctic subglacial lake Whillans .
Scientists at Michigan Technological University (MTU) revealed that the lake has a surprising amount of organic carbon, an important food source for microorganisms.
Subglacial Lake Whillans
While Subglacial Lake Whillans has relatively high concentrations of organic carbon. The study includes a video with the following images:
As explained by Trista Vick-Majors , assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University and lead author of the study:
There is no photosynthesis under the ice of this lake. This limits the sources of food and energy available in a way that would not be found in a surface lake or the open ocean. The idea is that these higher subglacial lakes could provide important sources of energy and nutrients for living things that inhabit the ice-covered regions of the Southern Ocean.
Studying subglacial lakes will provide information on how life begins in other parts of the world.
There is water and there is life under the ice. These can teach us a lot about our planet because this is a great place to look at somewhat simplified ecosystems, without higher levels of organisms. So we can answer questions about life that can be really difficult to answer elsewhere.
The largest desert on Earth is that of the Antarctic Ice Shelf, which covers more than 99% of the 14 million square kilometers of the Antarctic continent. If we look at the meaning of desert as a region with zero or very little rainfall.
Each year, this ice shelf receives average rainfall of about 50 mm, which decreases as it moves inland. Ironically, despite being a desert, the Antarctic Ice Shelf is also the largest body of fresh water : approximately 30 million square kilometers.