back to article Expedition to probe cavern lake 3km beneath Antarctic ice

The UK government has given the go-ahead for a team of British boffins to mount an expedition to a dark, cold lake buried in a cavern three kilometres beneath the ice sheet of Antarctica. The Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) is funding university researchers and the British Antarctic Survey to explore icy Lake …


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  1. W.S. Burroughs

    Bizarre life-forms?

    So that's where good ol' George Dubya is these days.

  2. Tanuki

    be careful what you bring back.

    Didn't John Carpenter make a horribly prescient movie (starring Kurt Russell) about the perils of this sort of research?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Alien v Predator

    powered by 5000 D cells?

    Paris, as if there is any probing going on.....

  4. Fizzl
    Black Helicopters

    someThing down there?

    We require Kurt Russell, Keith David some swedes and lots of flamethrowers.

  5. James

    They'll discover ...

    "strange extreme organisms evolved over aeons along a separate track to that followed by the ordinary surface lifeforms of the sunlit world."

    Mark Zuckerberg then...

  6. fran

    May I be the first

    to welcome our Antartic overlords

  7. Matt Underwood
    Thumb Up

    Surely easier to just wait..

    Might as well take advantage of global warming and simply wait for the 3Km of ice to melt.

    Still I'm looking forward to Grendel's Mother popping up - providing she looks like a giant naked golden Angeline Jolie as I've been led to believe.

  8. Secretgeek
    Paris Hilton


    Although, in the great tradition of fictional Spanish waiters, I know nothing, would someone please explain how, given that this lake remains liquid only due to the massive pressure of the ice above it, what's going to happen when someone sticks a hole in the ice?

    I'm envisaging the creation some kind of massive water geyser as the pressure releases. So much for keeping the lake pristine then.

    Anyone with more knowledge about these kind of things willing to correct me?

  9. Phil Endecott


    My recollection is that the Russians were drilling there and got very close to the lake water. But there was concern that their drilling method used something like paraffin to lubricate the drill or something, and that this would contaminate the lake water. There was also concern that even without the hydrocarbons the drill would introduce micro-organisms from the surface that would potentially be very disruptive to a hypothesized ecosystem that had been isolated for millennia. Presumably this new effort will be using technology that's designed to avoid these problems.

    As for what they'll find, here's a story about microbes that live under glaciers:

  10. Eponymous Cowherd

    Messing with things they don't understand.

    Have they not seen "The Thing", AVP, "The Seeds of Doom (Dr Who), Happy Feet.

    They'll uncover something and, not realising the danger, bring it back to Blighty where it will split open to release something that will eat / infect / absorb everyone.

    And the Government and Police will be powerless to do anything because it won't be carrying an ID card!

  11. Kevin Perry


    Mountains of Madness *again*?

  12. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    Three cheers for Doug!

    Finally the reputation of the master sci-fi/fantasy actor Doug McClure will be vindicated!

  13. Ste Mansfield

    Quality of pre-expedition information

    I like the fact that the USA have a 4 minute CGI extravaganza just for talking about spacesuits, but when the Brits have a's some nice pictures by Quentin Blake.


  14. Svantevid
    Thumb Up

    Love this sentence:

    "It's probably too much to hope for that the boffins will awaken some ancient horror, slumbering deep below the polar wastes"

    Lewis, we love you. :-)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I saw Cloverfield last night...

    ...nuff' said! :(

  16. dervheid

    "Bizarre, 'extreme' prehistoric lifeforms expected"

    So THAT'S where the current NuLabour cabinet ministers are from.

    Forget about exploration, just take them back and seal up whatever hole they crawled out of in the first place.

  17. Lottie
    Thumb Up

    I for one

    Welcome our subterranean ice covered lake surviving overlords.

  18. Sweep

    No Title

    I can't help but think of the ending of War of The Worlds.

    Question is, will we be wiped out by our lack of immunity to the germs of The Antarcticans, or will they be destroyed by ours?

  19. Lionel Baden
    Paris Hilton

    what are the odds

    That they find a invite only Pinguin Rave club ??

    paris might be there for 25,000 fish

  20. Anonymous Coward

    What if the Scientists do find evidence of lifeform evolution...

    Oh, what am I saying..... Quick pass me that rosary, I must seek forgiveness.

    Mine's the big thick puffa jacket and Antarctic boots with heretic on the back and tinfoil hat and very thick ear muffs in the pocket.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Re: May I be the first

    > to welcome our Antartic overlords

    You may, because everyone else will be welcoming our AntarCtic overlords.

    When the Lord was passing out Brains, you thought he said Trains, and didn't get any?

  22. Bob_Hunk


    ...Shoggoths are the biggest worry here.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Matt Underwood

    "a giant naked golden Angelina Jolie" .... hmmmmmm .... y'know., it's so cold down there that everything gets stiff and erect and..... oh, p'haps we should focus on the Kurt Russell scenario instead, it'll be alot more gory but a lot less frustrating for the boys !

  24. Mark Wills


    I'm visualising a system that can 'melt' rather than drill (or perhaps a combination of the two) it's way through the ice, thus the ice above it re-freezes and thus remains sealed.

    Tuh dah!!!!


  25. Tawakalna


    "At the Mountains of Madness"

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    now that,

    Now that would set the world to rights and put humanity into perspective, awakening some great old one who has been slumbering in its lake for millenia surrounded by its grotesque minders locked away from hummanity. 3miles of ice is a fair old distance even for a monster of such hideous power, especially once theres been an some kind of surface catastrophy. Why not just go to sleep until a species with the power to dig you out appears.

    But yes Mountains of Madness indeed.

    "We've got to go on, we can't stop now." As the great old ones psychic influence grows over the party of scientists until they become slavish demi-humans bent to the will of unspeakable evil.

    Now that would indeed be an exciting conclusion to our species.

    Ahh well, one can dream.

    Why is it nobody makes new films now anyway?

  27. Simpson


    Yes. A massive geyser will erupt, drowning all of the scientists.

    I have personally observed ice fishermen drilling holes in ice sheets. When the hole is completed, there is a geyser. Then the ice sheet immediately sinks to the bottom of the lake, drowning all the fishermen.

  28. Paul Segrue

    A title is required.

    Bah got here far too late to mention missing Norwegians and other Thing quotes....

    Argh and someone has all ready welcomed our Antartic overlords...

    only one thing to say.... Wibble

    @ Lionel Baden.... Penguin Raves! just what I needed to cheer up a bad day at work.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Cthulhu

    Cthulhu's in the south pacific.

    Elder Things... well, if scientists start being methodically dissected then maybe.

  30. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    The ancient one arises!

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh C'thulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

    Mines the one with the all angles that don't look right and the tentacles coming out of the pockets.

  31. mystra


    ia ia cthulhu fhtagn!

  32. Tim
    Black Helicopters

    As long as

    They don't find Megatron we're all going to be OK. IF they do however, I want to welcome our Decepticon overlords.

  33. Kenneth Chan
    Gates Halo

    I love the hand drawn graphics

    Yes, these guys are real scientist, no freaking power point/ photo shop.

    Give me a HB pencil and some napkins!

  34. Red Bren

    Overlords? Pah!

    I for one, welcome our be-tentacled, icy underlords!

  35. Anton Ivanov

    Re: As long as

    I am more worried about a dead ancient berried under the antarctic StarGate. Or digging out the StarGate in the first place (though should not bother the Goaul'd that are sleeping).

  36. breakfast Silver badge

    Ancient horrors in Antarctic lakes?

    For a great recent take on this, may I recommend Charles Stross' "A Colder War", freely available to read right here:

    If you like a bit of ia and fhtagn with your cold war drama it will suit you right down to the ground.

  37. Tawakalna

    @By Mystra..

    "ia ia cthulhu fhtagn!"

    o r'lyeh?

    "Ia! Yog-Sothoth! "Yi nash Yog Sothoth he lgeb throdag! Ia!"

  38. Anonymous Coward

    I need some peanut butter

    ... so I can speak like some of 'youse.

    Mine's the one with the spoon and the giant jar of Skippy bulging out of the pocket.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    this is of course

    they dont unearth some device to give them unstoppable power - in this case, i for one welcome our new bearded overlords! ;D

  40. Charlie van Becelaere
    Gates Horns

    Puts me in mind

    of a "campaign" bumper sticker I saw during the recent unpleasantness which read:

    C'thulu in '08 - why settle for the lesser of two evils?

    And yes, I know C'thulu's not in the Antarctic - this story just reminded me of the sticker via the HPL Mountains of Madness commentary.

    (evil billg because he's probably a C'thulu worshiper)

  41. Secretgeek


    No need to get sarky, it was a legit question.

    No, I didn't expect all the water to come out through the hole and the surface to collapse. However, not having much experience of drilling 3 miles of ice into subterranean lakes I was making the assumption that the effect would be similar to an oil well.

    Sarcasm's fine if the answer was obvious but If you can't give a straight answer to a reasonably asked question just fuck off.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    @ Lionel Baden

    Are you talking about "Penguin Rave" as in dancing + alcohol + penguins = party

    or LUG?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 16:37 GMT

    You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a "Penguin Rave" that would involve certain LUGs or a party involving alcohol + various and assorted mind altering substances + our Sphenicidae friends :-). Either one is bound to end up with some weird stuff happening at the end.

  44. peter

    First Contact


    Probe it

  45. Peyton

    That water looks refreshing

    Bottle it up and ship it here to the States pls

  46. Daniel B.

    Mind the giant penguins

    If they find those, CLOSE the tunnel! It might be too late when you see the shoggoths...

  47. Steve

    I don't believe it for a minute

    Surely if there were bizarre lifeforms in an under-ice watery lair, there would be a Playmobil reenactment of the glorious battle against them?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I didn't take his answer that way at all.

    Anyway, I expect they'll just put the plug in.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    This project looks totally


    And Deep

  50. Tawakalna

    Playmobil Shoggoths and Old Ones..

    ..with frickin' laser beams coming out of their eyes.

    now *that* would be awesome!

  51. Andus McCoatover

    Stiff and erect???

    <<"a giant naked golden Angelina Jolie" .... hmmmmmm .... y'know., it's so cold down there that everything gets stiff and erect >>

    Joking, or what!?!? try a Finnish Sauna a 90 degrees C, then jump with your mates into the avanto (hole in the ice) for a minute. Get out, and you instantly realise "all men are indeed equal". Bu*gger that!

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