Scientists accidentally discover life 900m under Antarctic ice

By Rosie Frost
Feb. 16, 2021
photo Copyright  Huw Griffiths/BAS

Marine life has been discovered under 900 metres of Antarctic ice shelf, much to the surprise of scientists.

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found animals – including sea sponges and several potentially undiscovered species – living in complete darkness and temperatures of -2.2 °C.

Very few creatures have been found living in such extreme conditions and the discovery goes against all previous theories about what kind of life could survive there.

Geologists were drilling through the ice to collect sediment samples when they hit a boulder. After lowering cameras through the ice to investigate, they saw “strange creatures” clinging to the rock.

“We were expecting to retrieve a sediment core from under the ice shelf, so it came as a bit of a surprise when we hit the boulder and saw from the video footage that there were animals living on it,” says Dr James Smith, a biogeologist at BAS who was part of the drilling team.

The results of the research were published in Frontiers in Marine Science on Monday.

Continue reading