It’s a cold, dark unknown world full of uncertainties; enough to scare the life away. But in spite of every odd, life still stays on there. In a fascinating discovery that has surprised everyone, scientists have found enough evidence of fish living beneath 2,500 feet (740 meters) of Antarctic ice.

A team of researchers made this startling observation while drilling through the Ross Ice Shelf, known to be the greatest body of floating ice; fish, jellyfish, and crustaceans were all present. The team is a part of the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is the first time that the researchers could investigate the “grounding zone”, the particular zone where convergence of the Antarctica ice, land and the sea occur. It is situated around 530 miles (850 kilometers) from the side of the Ross Ice Shelf.


Specially designed hot- water drills were used to dig up the rock solid ice and submersible cameras were sent to the hole on January 8th. And on January 16, it was subsequently found that fish and crustaceans are living beneath the ice where the temperature was roughly about (-2 Celsius).

Slawek Tulaczyk, leader of this team, said that this was the closest they could reach.

Chief scientist of WISSARD project, Ross Powell said all through his life, he wanted to make use of the every available resource to investigate this part of Antarctica because of its huge scientific importance. The submersible camera revealed the fishes with the size of 20 centimeters were pink in color and luminous in nature, and the grounding zone turned out to be their farthest south location ever, reported the team.

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But the team found that the seafloor, being extremely rocky and hard showed no existence of life.

Tulaczyk Further added that any sedentary form of life will be dead in this harsh condition, only the swimmers can survive. In 2013, scientists found the maiden evidence of the existence of microbial life under the sub glacial Lake Whillans of Antarctica.

SOURCENational Science Foundation