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© Photo REUTERS/Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Press Service/Handout

Putin given pre-historic water from Lake Vostok

by at 10/02/2012 19:01

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin received the first sample of prehistoric water from sub-glacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica on Friday.

Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev brought the prime minister a flask with a metal lid and handle containing some yellowish fluid in a small metal suitcase. The cover of the flask bears the words “Lake Vostok, aged more than a million years, from a depth of 3769.3 meters, date 05.12.11, Antarctica,” RIA Novosti reported. However, the date on the flask is two months before the lake was reached.

 

 

Pre-historic water for the PM
It is the first sample of water and it has not yet been analyzed, the minister said.
Trutnev said the water could be older than 1 million years. However, according to some experts, it may be from 1 million to 30 million years old.
Putin asked Trutnev whether he drank the water, to which the minister admitted that he had not.
“It would be interesting: the dinosaurs drank it and so did Trutnev,” joked the prime minister.

 

Melted ice

Head of the Rosgidromet environmental pollution, polar and marine works monitoring agency, Valery Martyshenko, said that Putin was given water samples obtained from the surface layer of the lake.
“This water is obtained, apparently, from borehole core samples lifted from the last layer. And it really is water from Lake Vostok,” he said.

 

The expedition should be rewarded – Putin

The minister talked about the Russian expedition’s big discovery. Thirty-three people took part, the work was carried out in difficult conditions at a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius, and almost four kilometers of ice had to be drilled through.

Putin suggested that the expedition members should be rewarded somehow. “This is a big event, we need to think about how to honor these people,” he said.


The discovery

Lake Vostok in Antarctica, hidden under a four-kilometer layer of ice, is a unique aquatic ecosystem that has been isolated from the Earth’s atmosphere and surface biosphere for millions of years. The study of it will play an important role in the study of climate change in recent millennia.
Drilling down to the lake, began in 1996, was suspended in 1998, to allow for the development of technology to prevent its contamination. In 2006, eight years later, the drilling was resumed.
A few days ago, scientists were able to penetrate into the lake.

Scientists note that the conditions in the lake are such that only exotic organisms that are yet unknown can exist in it. The concentration of oxygen in the lake water is so high that it can not sustain any known bacteria. In addition to resistance to oxygen, the inhabitants of the lake would have to have the potential to withstand high pressures, low temperatures, and would be able to live without sunlight.

 

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