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20 years of drilling: Russian scientists reach lake under Antarctica

 

20 years of drilling: Russian scientists reach lake under Antarctica
August 13, 2012 – It’s taken over 20 years but scientists drilling through the ice have finally reached lake Vostok.

In an achievement that has been likened to putting a man on the Moon, the Russian team of scientists have finally succeeded in reaching the hidden freshwater lake located deep down below the Antarctic ice. The team drilled down over 12,000ft at a location 800 miles east of the South Pole.

Because the cold, dark environment of the lake has been untouched for 20 million years, scientists hope it will provide a unique opportunity to study both ancient microbial life and to see what possibilities might exist for life below the icy surfaces of Europa and Enceladus.

“In the simplest sense, it can transform the way we think about life,” said NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati.

Opening a scientific frontier miles under the Antarctic ice, Russian experts drilled down and finally reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake, an achievement the mission chief likened to placing a man on the moon.

( via msnbc.msn.com )

Rocks That Burned OC Mother Covered in Phosphate

Rocks found on OC beach catch fire
Rocks found on OC beach catch fire (KTLA News)
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (KTLA) — Beach rocks that seriously burned a 43-year old woman were covered in elevated levels of phosphate, tests show.Lyn Hiner’s children collected the seven rocks at Trestles Beach and brought them home.

Hours later, Hiner picked them up from the floor of her home and put them in her pocket.

“All of a sudden, something hot on my leg just sort of started to bother me, and so I started to think it was a bug bite, and I started slapping it, and the next thing I know my shorts are on fire,” she said on “Good Morning, America.”

At that point the rocks either caught fire or became hot enough to set fire to her clothing, Capt. Marc Stone of the Orange County Fire Authority said.

The rocks were sent to a state laboratory for testing, and results released Thursday confirmed elevated traces of the inorganic chemical, an agency spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

But how the chemical got on the rocks isn’t known.

The rocks were small and smooth.

One was greenish in color and another had rusty orange streaks, Stone said.

“She actually had flames coming off of her shorts,” he said.

Hiner and her husband were both badly burned while trying to put the fire out.

When firefighters arrived, the husband had taken the shorts off his wife and was hosing her down on the front deck.

Paramedics treated the woman for severe second- and third-degree burns on her right leg.

Hiner’s husband suffered second-degree burns on his arm.