CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY / RADARSAT / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY / RADARSAT / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lake Vostok. Radar satellite image of the ice over Lake Vostok, Antarctica. This is a freshwater lake trapped under 4 kilometres of ice. This ice smooths out over the lake (centre), contrasting with the rough terrain of the ice over the surrounding mountains. The lake stays liquid due to geothermal heating and ice insulation. The lake is being investigated for possible microbial ecosystems. Radar studies show that the lower surface of the ice slowly melts and refreezes in a cycle of many thousands of years, slowly bringing sediments from the surface to the water below. Such isolated ice-based ecosystems may also exist on other worlds.
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