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Polar Lakes and RiversLimnology of Arctic and Antarctic Aquatic Ecosystems$
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Warwick F. Vincent and Johanna Laybourn-Parry

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213887.001.0001

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Antarctic subglacial water: origin, evolution, and ecology

Antarctic subglacial water: origin, evolution, and ecology

Chapter:
(p.119) CHAPTER 7 Antarctic subglacial water: origin, evolution, and ecology
Source:
Polar Lakes and Rivers
Author(s):

John C. Priscu

Slawek Tulaczyk

Michael Studinger

Mahlon C. Kennicutt II

Brent C. Christner

Christine M. Foreman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213887.003.0007

This chapter provides up-to-date coverage on the geophysical, chemical, and biological properties of the lakes that lie beneath the Antarctic ice cap (subglacial lakes). There are at least 150 lakes beneath this ice cap and many may be connected by networks of subglacial streams and rivers. The most well known of these lakes is Lake Vostok. Recent evidence indicates that subglacial lakes may initiate and maintain rapid ice flow, and should be considered in ice sheet mass balance assessments. The discovery of viable organisms in subglacial environments demonstrates that life has radiated into all aquatic habitats on the planet. Sub-glacial liquid environments offer an exciting frontier. Their study will provide an improved understanding of the coupling of geological, glaciological, and biological processes in the polar zones.

Keywords:   subglacial lakes, Lake Vostok, subglacial rivers, microbial life, ice cap, ice-sheet mass balance, extreme environments, astrobiology

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