Letter | Published:

First direct evidence of life under Antarctic shelf ice


A TOPIC of current interest to Antarctic marine biologists is the possibility of a biome at considerable distances from the open sea under the vast, permanent ice shelves that fringe areas of Antarctica. Such biological information is one of the aims of the present Ross Ice Shelf project1, an attempt to drill through ice 500 m thick at 82°30′S, 166°00′W, a site 450 km from the ice front in the Ross Sea. We have already obtained, under unusual circumstances, direct evidence of a biome under shelf ice at least 100 km from the open sea.

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  1. 1

    Zumberge, J. H., Antarct. J. U.S., 6, 258–63 (1971).

  2. 2

    Smith, B. M. E., Sci. Rep. Br. Antarct. Surv., 72, 1–11 (1972).

  3. 3

    Hureau, J. C., Bull. Inst. océanogr. Monaco, 68, 1–244 (1970).

  4. 4

    Wohlschlag, D. E., Copeia, 1, 11–18 (1961).

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