Scientists have found a lake. In Antarctica. Here's why that's weird and exciting.

Scientists have found something mysterious buried underneath the Antarctic ice.

I know this is how a lot of horror movies tend to start, but don't panic. British scientists were investigating a part of Antarctica known as Princess Elizabeth Land.


Princess Elizabeth II stands at the right in this picture from 1933, two years after the land was named after her. You probably know her better as Queen Elizabeth II, the current British monarch. Image from AFP/Getty Images.

Anyway, scientists found what they think is an immense canyon system below Antarctica. And, buried deep within it, a subglacial lake.

This pond is located under a glacier in Norway. Now imagine this much darker, deeper, and nearly 90 miles long. Image from Guttorm Flatabø/Flickr.

The scientists are inferring the lake's presence from subtle patterns they've observed in the ice. To confirm whether or not the lake exists, another team of American and Chinese scientists have flown a plane mounted with ice-penetrating radar over the area to get recordings. They're going to meet up in May to share the data.

If the recordings confirm it exists, the lake will be part of an immense 680-mile canyon system buried under the ice. Current measurements put the lake at about 87 miles long and 12 miles wide.

This isn't the first lake scientists have found trapped under the ice.

Another lake, Lake Vostok, is even larger than this new potential lake, measuring in at a whopping 160 by 30 miles and covered in nearly 13,000 feet of ice. There are other lakes too, including Lake Whillans and Lake Ellsworth.


An artist's diagram of drilling to Lake Vostok. Image from U.S. National Science Foundation/WIkimedia Commons.

Scientists are excited about these undiscovered lakes because they have the potential to be full of weird, isolated creatures.

A student tests the type of submersible used to explore subglacial Lake Whillans. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

In 2013 an American team drilled over 700 meters into Lake Whillans, another Antarctic lake. They found thousands of different types of microbes living in the brutal, cold darkness.

These are organisms that might have not had any contact with the outside world since they were covered in ice over 15 million years ago.

The first glimpse of Lake Whillans' bottom. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Wikimedia Commons.

If scientists were able to find that much life that by drilling down into other lakes, it's definitely possible that more strange, unseen critters could be living in this newly discovered lake as well.

By studying these mysterious, icy denizens, scientists can learn about how life evolves in isolation and how creatures deal with extreme cold and dark. What do these microbes they eat, for example? How did they get trapped? Do all Antarctic lakes contain life? If not, what makes the ones that do so special?

These lakes can help us understand how life works on Earth but also hint at what kinds of life we might find out in space.

Will the oceans of Europa look like Lake Whillans? Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute/Wikimedia Commons.

Antarctica has been home to conspiracies, alien stories, and fictional lost worlds for as long as we've known about it. But it turns out that the real-life continent is just as mysterious as any movie.

Getting to know how life survives in such harsh conditions here on Earth will better prepare us to identify and interact with life on other planets.

It’ll take us a while yet before we come close to encountering creatures on other planets, but it’s cool to remember that there are still places here on Earth we have yet to discover.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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