Saltwater Network 1,000 feet below Ice-Free Region in Antarctica

Saltwater Network 1,000 feet below Ice-Free Region in Antarctica

Scientists have uncovered a saltwater network 1,000 feet below an ice-free region McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Some parts of the Antarctic region are quite similar to planet Mars and scientists recently discovered tunnels at Mars.

Researchers involved in the study said that the findings are important as the saltwater exists in a temperature that could support microbial life. For the research, electromagnetic sensor was used to find Antarctica's saltwater brines.

It was found that beneath frozen surfaces, Antarctica has a system of interconnected, unfrozen aquifers. It is now considered that the saltwater aquifers could be the byproducts of ancient ocean deposits or an evaporated lake.

An airborne survey was carried out that unveiled about the interconnected subsurface briny aquifer deep beneath the frozen tundra. The research team said that the findings would not only help better understand extreme habitats for life on earth, but also to know the potential for life elsewhere in the solar system.

"It suggests that this ecosystem is extensive and connected. There could be a very, very large subsurface habitable environment throughout the Antarctic regions", stated Ross Virginia, an ecosystem ecologist at Dartmouth College.

Study's lead researcher Jill Mikucki from the University of Tennessee said that they have come across few subsurface aquatic environments and all of them have been teeming with life.