Scientists Find Strange Critters Under a Half Mile of Ice

Researchers only drilled through an Antarctic ice shelf to sample sediment. Instead, they found animals that weren’t supposed to be there.

Bivouacked in the middle of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf—a five-hour flight from the nearest Antarctic station—nothing comes easy. Even though it was the southern summer, geologist James Smith of the British Antarctic Survey endured nearly three months of freezing temperatures, sleeping in a tent, and eating dehydrated food. The science itself was a hassle: To study the history of the floating shelf, he needed seafloor sediment, which was locked under a half mile of ice.

To get to it, Smith and his colleagues had to melt

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