The results of research within the framework of the WISSARD project showed that under the 800-meter layer of ice in the west of Antarctica there is a huge wetland, where, in particular, Lake Villans is located. The new data will help scientists better understand how sea levels are rising due to ice melt caused by global warming.
Subglacial Lake Villans exists as part of the ice sheet. It feeds on melting ice and partly sea water. At the bottom of the lake, scientists have discovered ancient sediments. According to research participant Helen Amanda Fricker, only 10 years ago nothing was known about this.
Water from the lake gradually flows through canals and subglacial rivers into the ocean, but this energy is not enough to wash out ancient sediments. The study of the ongoing processes will enable scientists to understand the mechanics and biogeochemistry of the lake itself. In the future, this information will be used to create models of the interaction of surface ice with subglacial lake systems and bottom sediments.
These models will allow us to calculate how much water flows from subglacial lakes into the ocean, and how this affects its level.