A 60-year international history of Antarctic subglacial lake exploration

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Title: A 60-year international history of Antarctic subglacial lake exploration
Author(s): Siegert, MJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: In January 2013, the US WISSARD programme measured and sampled Lake Whillans, a subglacial water body at the edge of West Antarctica, in a clean and environmentally sensitive manner, proving the existence of microbial life beneath this part of the ice sheet. The success of WISSARD represented ben chmark in the exploration of Antarctica, made possible by a rich and diverse history of events, discoveries and discussions over the past 60 years ; ranging from geophysical measurement of subglacial lakes, to the development of scientific hypotheses concer ning these environments and the engineering solutions required to test them . In this article, I provide a personal account of this history, from the published literature and my own involvement in subglacial lake exploration over the last 20 years. I show t hat our ability to directly measure and sample subglacial water bodies in Antarctica has been made possible by a strong theme of international collaboration, at odds with the media representation of a scientific ‘race’ between nations. I also consider plan s for subglacial lake exploration and discuss how such collaboration is likely to be key to success of future research in this field.
Publication Date: 25-May-2017
Date of Acceptance: 16-Jan-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/44066
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1144/SP461.5
ISSN: 0305-8719
Publisher: Geological Society
Journal / Book Title: Special Publications (Geological Society London)
Volume: Special Publications
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
British Council (UK)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/K004956/2
Copyright Statement: This article is published under the terms of the CC-BY 3.0 license.
Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences
Geochemistry & Geophysics
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 461
Open Access location: https://doi.org/10.1144/SP461.5
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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