Interest in brines in extreme and cold environments has recently increased after they have been found on Mars. Those brines can be potential new subsurface habitats for peculiar ecosystems. In the McMurdo Dry Valleys of the Antarctic, the best analogue for Mars conditions, only a few cases of brines have been identified in some perennially frozen lakes and in one case in an underground aquifer. Here, we present the occurrence of pressurized brines in a shallow perennially ice-covered lake south of 70°S in an ice-free area of Victoria Land, Antarctica. For the first time, we also imaged, by means of ground penetrating radar data, the existence of a pingo-like-feature (PLF) formed by the extrusion of brines, which has also been confirmed by borehole evidence. Those brines are fed by an underground talik external to the lake basin, enhancing the possibility of unexploited ecosystems that could find an analogue in Martian environments.

Pressurized brines in continental Antarctica as a possible analogue of Mars

FORTE, Emanuele;
2016

Abstract

Interest in brines in extreme and cold environments has recently increased after they have been found on Mars. Those brines can be potential new subsurface habitats for peculiar ecosystems. In the McMurdo Dry Valleys of the Antarctic, the best analogue for Mars conditions, only a few cases of brines have been identified in some perennially frozen lakes and in one case in an underground aquifer. Here, we present the occurrence of pressurized brines in a shallow perennially ice-covered lake south of 70°S in an ice-free area of Victoria Land, Antarctica. For the first time, we also imaged, by means of ground penetrating radar data, the existence of a pingo-like-feature (PLF) formed by the extrusion of brines, which has also been confirmed by borehole evidence. Those brines are fed by an underground talik external to the lake basin, enhancing the possibility of unexploited ecosystems that could find an analogue in Martian environments.
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep33158
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2886472
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