Environment

Life Under the Ice

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Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Researchers set up sensors to monitor movement of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Microbiologist Jill Mikucki from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville inspects Lake Whillans water samples. 

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Biologist John Priscu celebrates the team’s successful attempt at reaching Lake Whillans through half a mile of ice.

See more stories and multimedia from Lake Whillans in this special report.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Chief driller Dennis Duling, from the University of Nebraska, checks in with his equipment.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Dan Sampson from the University of California in Santa Cruz jumps to test seismic sensors that are buried in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, nearly 650 miles and a world away from the Dry Valleys.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Chad Carpenter, a hot water drill system specialist from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, secures the drill frame.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

A 2,626-foot borehole leads to Subglacial Lake Whillans.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Reed Scherer, a geology professor from Northern Illinois University, stands by as drilling work continues.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Another UC Santa Cruz graduate student, Ken Mankoff, tests a geothermal probe at McMurdo Station.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Scientists prepare instruments at the top of the borehole.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

A researcher prepares a remotely operated vehicle to send down the borehole.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Graduate student Grace Barcheck, from the University of California in Santa Cruz.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Lake biologist John Priscu, from Montana State University, and Louisiana State University microbiologist Brent Christner prepare to sample lake water.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Geomicrobiologist Andrew Mitchell, now with Aberystwyth University in England, prepares lake-water samples. 

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

Researchers extract mud from the bottom of Lake Whillans.

Photo Credits: JT Thomas

More mud, which contained the crushed shells of microscopic aquatic organisms.

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