[Fwd: FWD: Some farther out stuff on Lake Vostok]

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From: Rodent of Unusual Size (Ken.Coar@Golux.Com)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 13:14:15 PDT

Heh. Heh-heh. Bwah. BWAHAHAHA! Ahem.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FWD: Some farther out stuff on Lake Vostok
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 09:22:33 -0400
From: "Donald E. Eastlake 3rd" <dee3@torque.pothole.com>

[A while ago I sent out a long message on Lake Vostok, the largest
sub-antartic lake. (If you missed that, here are some much shorter
articles: <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/vostok.html>,
<http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/press/00/pr0048.htm>.) The scientific
facts are interesting enough, but below is something a bit "further
out"...if you go to the web site instead of just reading it here,
there are pictures...:-) dee3]

What is Happening at the South Pole?

"Frankly doctor, we've been receiving reports that a rather serious
epidemic has broken out at Clavius. Is this in fact what has

Dr. Floyd -- "I'm sorry. As I said, I'm not at liberty to discuss it."

-- Scene from 2001 - a Space Odyssey

In recent weeks, a series of disturbing and mysterious reports have
been coming out of Antarctica, centered around a strange "anomaly"
recently detected on that perpetually frozen Continent. The stories,
covered extensively by internet news sources (like Kent Steadman's
Cyberspace Orbit site), draw eerie parallels to material as diverse as
a French novel, the "X-Files" movie, and as we shall see, even Arthur
C. Clarke's "2001 - A Space Odyssey."

All the intrigue centers around a fairly recent, but potentially
"breakthrough" discovery on that faraway Continent. In 1957, the
Russians built a base in eastern Antarctica which they named "Vostok"
(East), which also happens to be the name of the first series of
manned Russian spacecraft. In the 1970's, via airborne radar surveys,
they belatedly began to suspect that they had "inadvertently" (as the
story goes) built their base at the tip of a large subglacial lake. In
the years since, orbital radar mapping (shown below) combined with
surface seismological measurements have confirmed that "Lake Vostok,"
under over two miles of solid ice, is the largest lake discovered in
the last 100 years -- roughly the size of Lake Ontario but much deeper
in places (more than 3000 feet!), with about four times the volume.

The Lake, which is still liquid and not frozen, has been isolated
under the ice sheet since anywhere from 13,000 to 14 million years
ago, depending on who you talk to (thus, who's estimating precisely
"when" the ice last completely covered the Continent). The water in
the Lake (determined by surface thermal scans) ranges from 50 to 65
degrees F, clearly indicating a sub-terranean heat source. In
addition, the whole Lake is covered by a sloping air "dome" several
thousand feet high that has formed (from the "hot" water melting the
overlying ice) just above the Lake's surface. Core samples taken by
the Russians a couple years ago at their Vostok Base -- when they
drilled down very close to the bottom of the ice sheet -- have
revealed the presence of microbes, nutrients and various gases -- like
methane -- embedded in the clear, refrozen Lake water just above the
"dome." Such items are typical signatures of biological processes. The
Lake, therefore, has all the ingredients of an incredible scientific
find: a completely "isolated" eco-system -- water, heat, respired
gases and (judging from the unique microorganisms that scientists were
actually able to culture in the United States and Russia, when
retrieved from their icy prison) ... current biological activity. As
the actual scope and composition of the Lake became clearer from about
1998 on, NASA began to see it as an ideal test bed for its eventual
plans to drill through the ice and search the oceans of Jupiter's
moon, Europa. Accordingly, JPL received NASA grants to develop unique
"sterile" drilling technology, conduct actually drilling and probe
experiments in other terrestrial environments, and to prepare a Plan
to actually enter Lake Vostok by 2002.

But, coincident with a stunning new discovery, JPL has evidently now
backed off these ambitious exploration plans.

According to Scientific American
<http://www.sciam.com/2001/0301issue/0301scicit1.html>, the National
Science Foundation has now suddenly cancelled plans to penetrate the
Lake with a robotic probe by that target date: 2002. The ostensible
reason is "concern over environmental contamination." As noted
earlier, core samples returned from the ice refrozen just 100 yards
above the Lake's "air dome," contained a plethora of microorganisms of
various categories, including some never seen before

These new, exotic life forms have raised concerns among the
environmental lobby that exploration of Lake Vostok might
"contaminate" an otherwise pristine eco-system. All this seems quite
reasonable, until you factor in what happened in February, and the
reaction to it.

A team of scientists from Columbia University, working under the
auspices of the NSF, early in 2001 began a series of unprecedented
low-altitude aerial surveys over Lake Vostok, designed to chart
gravitational, magnetic and thermal activity under the ice. In the
course of doing so, they made a stunning find. A huge magnetic anomaly
<http://www.polar.org/AntSun/2001_0204/index.html> was discovered
covering the entire Southeast portion of the shore of the Lake. This
remarkable anomaly, which is discrepant from the background by over
1,000 nanoteslas (a significant variance, compared to daily variations
in the Earth's magnetic field), could of course be caused by "natural"

One possibility, voiced by Columbia's Michael Studinger, is that the
Earth's crust in the vicinity of the Lake is simply thinner under this
section of Antarctica, having been stretched during the formation of
the lake bed itself. This, according to Studinger, would result in a
"local magnetic anomaly." Others, like Enterprise consulting geologist
Ron Nicks, have serious difficulty with this theory. Nicks explains
that such a thinning would heat the underlying rock and thus diminish
(rather than increase -- as observed) the crust's ability to locally
amplify the Earth's magnetic field.

There is, as always, an equally viable alternative explanation. An
anomaly like this could also be caused by an accumulation of metals --
the kind you would get if you found the ruins of an ancient, buried

An "ancient city under the ice?" Such a discovery would be absolutely
dazzling, sending shockwaves through our world as profound as the
discovery of "artifacts on Mars" or "ruins on the Moon." And the
notion is not as improbable as you may think.

There is a growing trend toward the acceptance of the notion of
"catastrophism" <http://www.pibburns.com/catastro.htm> as a viable
alternative to conventional geologic models. This is in opposition to
the current (but retreating) geological model, called "gradualism" --
the concept that geologic changes only happen slowly, over
eons. However, more and more evidence has mounted (from the Vostok ice
cores, for example) that climatological changes can happen
rapidly. Some attribute these "catastrophic" changes in the record to
sudden polar shifts. Many researchers, from a variety of evidence,
have put the last such sudden shift at around ~13,000 years ago.

Under this "catastrophic" model, Antarctica might well have been a
temperate, even a jungle Continent, as recently as that 13KYA time
frame. A sudden change in the Earth's alignment relative to the sun
would have plunged this once hospitable land into a perpetual freezing
hell, as cold as Mars in some places. Indeed, it is easy to see
Antarctica as Hitler did, as the source of worldwide "Atlantis"
legends we have all heard and read. According to least one source,
<http://www.stargate-chronicles.com/pmd.html> Dr. Werner Von Braun of
NASA was convinced that Hitler's belief in an "Atlantis below the ice"
was correct.

This admittedly far-fetched notion, however, begins to take on an air
of viability when viewed in the extraordinary context of recent

Almost immediately after the discovery of the Columbia "Vostok
magnetic anomaly," word began to leak out that JPL was inexplicably
"pulling back from its Vostok exploration program." The reason given
was the previously stated "environmental concerns." This was all well
and good, until unconfirmed reports began to surface
<http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/antmag.html> that a JPL spokesperson
had admitted at a February press conference that the National Security
Agency (NSA) had literally taken over the JPL polar research program
at Lake Vostok. It was this report which created something of a
firestorm on the Internet.

Several sources immediately pointed to the fact that the location of
the "Vostok anomaly" is quite close to coordinates shown in the
"X-Files" movie regarding the fictional location of a massive, "buried
alien spacecraft." In fact, the Russian Vostok Base is the closest
base of any kind to the coordinates given in the movie. (All this
reminded us, of course, of our own previous suspicions about the true
source <http://www.enterprisemission.com/x.htm> of some of X-Files
creator Chris Carter's story ideas ....)

The discovery of the peculiar Vostok anomaly underneath the ice --
encompassing an area almost 3,000 miles in area -- was also eerily
reminiscent of a French novel, "Subterranean," in which Antarctic
scientists discover an inhabited "Lost City" under the ice.

And there were even stranger stories suddenly coming from the "bottom
of the world" in this same time frame ....

A December 2000 report, carried on this Continent by NPR,
<http://www.npr.org/news/healthsci/antarctica/index.html> stated that
"someone at McMurdo had become disoriented" and began to spread the
rumor of a "UFO landing" in Antarctica. There was even a poster
circulating though the Base, depicting a giant spacecraft hovering
directly over McMurdo! The individual supposedly responsible was
promptly "deported" from the Continent -- literally put on the next
plane back to New Zealand (the official gateway to McMurdo)! Equally
bizarre, at least three scientists -- including the Russian discoverer
of a remarkable set of geometric "dunes," seen directly above the
strongest region of the Vostok anomaly -- have died on the Continent
in the past two years. Curiously, the causes of these deaths -- all of
them young men in their thirties and forties -- have not been

Whether the story about the JPL press conference is, in fact, the
truth (we have yet to substantiate the actual report), still stranger
things began to happen down South. Initially, it was reported that the
doctor at the South Pole (the second replacement in two years at the
Amundson-Scott Base) needed an unprecedented airlift extraction (this
late in the season) -- because of "complications from a gall stone."
Then, coincident with that, other reports began to surface
<http://www.70south.com/news> of the need for four more medical
extractions, in an equally unprecedented fashion, from the coastal
base at McMurdo Station, the largest US base on the entire
Continent. Again, as with the previously reported deaths, the reasons
were somewhat mysterious as to the precise need for these "emergency
medical extractions." Public speculation has hinged on the idea that
someone coming into McMurdo from New Zealand brought "something" with
them from home, some kind of infectious disease, that was subsequently
spreading among the isolated population there.

However, this is extremely unlikely. Precisely because of the isolated
population in Antarctica, immigrants are screened for a wide range of
diseases before being allowed on the Continent. In fact, upon arrival,
they are quarantined for a number of days -- to ensure they have not
brought any "friends from home" with them. And, as is well known, the
environmental conditions in Antarctica are so harsh that normal
viruses and other microbial life cannot readily survive (even common
colds are vanishingly rare), virtually guaranteeing that nobody in
this instance caught a case of the "Antarctic flu."

So what's happening? Two thoughts immediately spring to mind:

One is that some "Special Project" has, against all scientific and
environmental prudence, indeed drilled through the ice into the Lake
Vostok eco-system (clandestinely, of course). And, the participants
have suddenly found themselves exposed to "something" for which their
bodies literally have no immunity -- something not extant in the rest
of Earth's biosphere for between 13,000 and several million years!
After the initial reports of "four emergency extractions," the number
changed to five ... and now twelve McMurdo personnel are supposedly in
need of a dangerous, "emergency medical evacuation" well into the
Antarctic winter season. At one level, this has all the earmarks of
"something" virulently spreading among the limited winter population
at the Base, something that even the fairly complete medical
facilities at McMurdo can no longer cope with. Complicating the
picture is the fact that the "extractees" are not research scientists
or long-term support personnel, but are all employees of Raytheon
Corporation -- a high-tech firm that is deeply involved in a variety
of black-ops programs for the U.S. government all around the world.

This idea (that these two simultaneous "emergencies" are actually due
to some kind of "black ops fiasco" in Antarctica) is reinforced by
another little noticed story coming out of the Amundson-Scott Base --
that the doctor being brought in (to replace the ailing doctor) has
been asked to also bring in "an emergency supply of salt." She's even
been asked to "stuff her own pockets full of salt packets," ostensibly
because there is "no room on the rescue aircraft itself." This is
obviously a silly, thinly-veiled "cover story" ... designed to tell
someone "outside" ... "something." Salt is crucial to survival in
outdoor conditions in Antarctica. The air is so dry, that unless
someone exposed to the outdoors there has a good supply of salt, they
are likely to face the possibility of death by mineral depletion and
dehydration. Obviously the Base, after years of operation, would have
a pretty good handle on just how much salt is needed until the next
re-supply plane arrives. So how is it that they suddenly find
themselves desperately without any of it left?!

Maybe, because they suddenly had a unique situation. Maybe because a
team of scientists and engineers from Raytheon spent a lot of
unplanned days out on the windswept ice, frantically drilling against
the clock, in an all-out effort to break through to the Lake below --
and in the process, used far more than the normal complement of salt
to survive.

The other possibility for the sudden, simultaneous "evacuations" is
even more extraordinary.

What if these Raytheon black ops personnel did indeed find "something"
in their secret drilling under Vostok -- and needed to get it back to
civilization ASAP for in-depth study. Under this scenario, the whole
idea of an "outbreak" is simply a ruse to cover the need for a large
airplane (a New Zealand C-130 Hercules) dramatically visiting McMurdo
at a time never attempted in all its years before: the only "way out"
for something very important from the Continent. How do you cover such
an operation? Put all the medical hints out there, and wait for the
Internet conspiracists to "figure out" that there has been some kind
of outbreak at McMurdo (there has been NO official confirmation of
this theory, by the way), all the while covering your real agenda --
which is to get your hands on a genuine artifact from "Zep-Tepi"
before the dead of the Antarctic winter makes any such attempt this
year impossible!

This "conspiracy within a conspiracy" would seem a little far-fetched
even to us were it not for one inescapable reality --

-- It's 2001.

This whole weird scenario, the discovery of a magnetic anomaly at an
isolated location, the secret digging to uncover an ancient artifact,
the danger of shattering social consequences if the information is not
properly contained, the concoction of an epidemic as a cover story for
the secret activities around the extraction of the artifact -- is
straight out of Clarke's "2001" playbook! The only real difference is
the location of the artifact, Antarctica, instead of the Moon! Indeed,
even the date -- 2001 -- is dead on. Anybody wonder if maybe Clarke
knew something about "AMA-1" when he wrote his story more than three
decades ago?

The parallels to us are striking. Remember, we have been warning all
along that "2001" was Special, that a veil would begin to lift in this
most crucial year .... All of us have been looking to Mars. Maybe, we
should have been paying more attention to our own backyard.

Rest assured, we will be watching developments at the South Pole with
great interest the rest of the year. After all, it is 2001.

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