Lake Vostok: The Huge Lake You Can Never Visit

On February 5, 2012, a team of Russian scientists penetrated over two miles of ice to finally reach Lake Vostok, the seventh largest lake by volume on Planet Earth. The freshwater lake is located in Antartica, and it’s kept from freezing by the downward pressure of the ice above it. The water in the lake is changed out by slow flow of water through the surrounding ice sheets about every 13,000 years.

Some other facts about Lake Vostok:

1. The lake has been frozen over for roughly 15 to 25 million years, and the ice above contains a priceless uncontaminated climatic record of about 414,000 years.

2. It has three times the volume of Lake Ontario.

3. The temperature on the surface far above the lake was measured in 1983 at -89.2C, or -128.6F.

4. The sediment below Lake Vostok is thought to be priceless as well, because it contains a record of life before the ice cap formed.

5. Lake Vostok is named for the Russian Vostok Station, a research station located about 808 miles from the geographic South Pole.

Source: Various Authors, Lake Vostok,

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