Thursday, 16 February 2012

Permafrost in Antarctica

The last two days were really productive. Good weather, not so strong wind and finally we got 1m 52 cm in the third borehole. We decided to drill this third borehole in a permafrost area.  After drilling at high and middle temperature we pretended to get cold temperature to look for psychrophiles. Cold loving bacteria leaving nearby to hot environment (hydrothermal volcanic source), tremendously interesting from an Astrobiology point of view. We had finally to stop drilling due to a very strong snow, but we have identified a very interesting place for a fourth borehole: Glacial ice on the top of a frosted (permafrost) volcanic ash.  Tremendously similar environment to the Martian permafrost basaltic areas. The cross sections will allow us to identify not only psycrophiles but also some mesophiles and thermopiles. These contact environments are possible new places to include in the Trans National Access 1 activity in a possible future Europlanet RI project extension. I will propose it for the future.
Will continue….

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