Subglacial environments: Focus for a new U.S. research program



Subglacial Antarctic lake environments (SALE) have attracted great scientific and lay public interest during the last decade. “Subglacial” is broadly defined as those localities under substantial (kilometer-scale) ice overburdens that cause long-term (at least thousands of years) isolation from direct subaerial contact. Subglacial environments are at or below the ice-bed interface of glaciers and ice sheets, including ice-water contacts above subglacial lakes and below ice shelves.

For the next decade or more, SALE exploration and research will be a focus of intense interest in Antarctica as one of the last remaining unexplored and difficult to access environments on Earth. SALE is also a primary focus for the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007—2008 scientific theme, “exploring new frontiers.”