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MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russian researchers have successfully completed the effort to drill down to Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy said on Sunday.
“Today we received information that after a three-year long intense effort in the extreme Antarctic conditions, Russian polar explorers have succeeded in completing the drilling of borehole to the subglacial Lake Vostok,” Donskoy said.
The team drilled through 3,769 meters and 15 centimeters of ice. The borehole reached the lake at 1.12 p.m. Moscow time (1012 GMT).
“This is an event of a global scale which has huge scientific value and significance,” the minister said.
Lake Vostok was discovered geodetically by the 33rd Russian Antarctic Expedition in 1987. It lies under almost four kilometers of ice and is 250 km long and 50 km wide. The drilling started in 1989. On February 5, 2012, researchers reached the watershed and took the first samples of water, which contained traces of living organisms. However a year later water rose and froze at the level of 363 meters. The explorers had to drill new well parallel to the old one from the depth of 3,406 meters.