Lake Vostok


Lake Vostok is among the largest freshwater lakes in the world. This sub glacial lake is located in the eastern part of Antarctica. It is sitting below an ice cap that has a thickness of more than 2 miles. With a length of about 150 miles and width of 31 miles, it is the largest lake on the continent of Antarctica.

It holds approximately 1,300 cubic miles of water. It is the result of some kind of volcanic activity that melted a portion of ice. The average temperature of the water is -3°C. It is less than the freezing point of water but the high pressure of ice forces it to remain in liquid form.


Quick Facts: –

  • Lake Vostok was discovered in 1996 while scientists were drilling ice core samples and found its uppermost region.
  • When the ice core samples taken close to the water were tested, scientists found microbes that have never been found before.
  • The only water supply of this freshwater lake is melted water from the overlying ice sheet.
  • The ice from the lake is estimated to be around 400,000 years old and the water has not been contaminated in last 15 million years.
  • Different remote sensing techniques like seismic soundings, and ice penetrating radar were used to map the actual shape of the lake.
  • The lake is situated beneath the Vostok Research Station. This is also where the lowest measured natural temperature is recorded.
  • This lake is divided into two basins by the ridge. The Northern basin is 400 meters deep and the Southern basin is 800 meters deep.
  • Russian geographer Andrey Kapitsa was the first who suggested the existence of a sub glacial lake in the eastern Antarctica.