British Research Team to Drill Beneath Three Kilometers of Solid Ice to Reach Subglacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica

Posted on October 11, 2011

Explosion of Ice at Lake Ellsworth

A British research team is headed to Antarctica for the first stage of a scientific mission to collect water and sediment samples from Lake Ellsworth, which is buried beneath three kilometres (1.86 miles) of solid ice. In a press release, the researchers explain that the project will take two phases.

In October 2012 a team of 10 scientists and engineers will use hot-water drilling technology to make a three kilometer bore hole through the ice. The team will lower a titanium probe into the bore hole to measure and sample the water. The probe will be followed by a corer to extract sediment from the lake.

You can visit the website for the research project at This ITN News video includes an animation of the titanium probe sampling the water. Take a look:

Photo: The Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium