Monday, February 11, 2008

Ever Wonder? : The Coldest Place on Earth

If you guessed Antarctica, you are a smart cookie. Give yourself a pat on the back! Get this: in our lifetime the lowest temperature on earth measurable was -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius) in Vostok, Antarctica. July 21, 1983.

Below an Antarctic glacier, lies a natural reservoir of fresh water known as Lake Vostok. Lake Vostek is covered by nearly 3km of ice on its surface.
Lake Vostok is situated beneath the Russian research station (Vostok Station).

“Intense pressure from the overlying ice generates heat which, combined with geothermal heat from below, is thought to keep the Vostok's million-year-old water in a liquid state. The ice also serves as an insulating blanket.

Some 393 feet (120 meters) above the lake rests the lower end of the deepest ice core ever drilled -- 11,886 feet (3,623 meters) below the frigid surface. There, in freshwater ice that researchers think has migrated upward from the lake, a community of microbes -- extremophiles, defined by the term -- thrive in some of the harshest conditions imaginable.”

In other words, Lake Vostok has been cut off below the ice for nearly 15 billion years and has the possability to play home to some astonishing and resiliant lifeforms.


So imagine that! That is COLD. Those creatures need little heating pads!
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