I got to thinking about freshwater on Antarctica. Obviously, there is a lot of freshwater ice. However, the deeper you go underground, eventually the dirt will be warmed geothermically. So does the geothermal heat melt the ice and create a lot of underground water? Or does surface ice have zero correlation with underground water?

I have no idea how aquifers are technically made. This is just idle curiosity/speculation from your average Joe.


1 Answer 1


Yes. So far as aquifers are concerned, Antarctica is just like any other continent. The Ice is 4 kilometres thick in places, but at the bottom there is water. If there is any place where water is not found at the base of the ice sheet, there will be an aquifer within a few miles. There are about 400 sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica, the most well known being Lake Vostok in Russian Antarctic Territory.

Lake Vostok is very large and deep, covered by 4 Km of ice, and Russian scientists have recently drilled down to it in the hope of finding living organisms. Although it is completely dark down there they were not disappointed, and many micro-organisms were found, but no vertebrates. There is a large, dry valley deep in Antarctica where precipitation is negligible and bare ground is everywhere, but how this affects underground water resources I don't think anyone could say.


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