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General Information

Description Lake Vostok may be the coldest, deepest and most southerly lake on earth. Vostok is thought to be one of the less than twenty ancient lakes on earth, although the lake's exact age is unknown. Vostok's water is considered to be the most pure on earth, since it has remained untouched beneath 4km of ice for its entire lifespan.

Lake Vostok sits beneath a Russian research station that has seen the lowest temperatures ever recorded on this planet: minus 126.9 degrees Fahrenheit (53 degrees Celsius).

Lake Vostok is the largest of over 70 sub-glacial lakes on Antarctica.

Country Polar Regions
Latitude -78° 27' 0" (-78.4500)
Longitude 106° 52' 12" (106.8700)


 Ancient Lakes of the World

Physical Characteristics

Description Lake Vostok is approximately the size of Lake Ontario. The lake is approximately 230 km long by 50 km wide, and probably contains a sediment record up to hundreds of meters thick.

The average age of Vostok's water is thought to be approximately one million years old; the lake itself may be as old as 30 million years, if it is found to be a rift valley lake.

Depth Maximum depth: 500.0 m
Age 1 million - 2 million years before present
Type Fresh


Economic Value
Major Cities

Watershed Management


Biodiversity Conservation

Species of Concern



Lake Vostok: A curiosity or a focus for study?


7/9/2013 - Shellfish Deep in Antarctic Lake? Experts Doubtful
10/19/2012 - First Lake Vostok Samples 'Lifeless,' But American Scientist Says That's Not Conclusive
2/17/2012 - Race Is On To Find Life Under Antarctic Ice Sheet
2/8/2012 - Russia reaches freshwater lake buried under miles of Antarctic ice for millions of years
1/16/2012 - Scientists to drill to lake buried 2 miles beneath Antarctica's ice
1/15/2007 - Lake Vostok life to be studied
11/15/2004 - Does Life Exist in Antarctic Lake Buried Under Miles of Ice?
11/10/2004 - A Living Lake? Scientists wonder if anything is living in a huge lake underneath the ice of Antarctica
11/1/2004 - Antarctic Lakes: 145 and Counting, Scientists Say
7/13/2004 - Pristine Polar Lakes
5/30/2002 - Three nations to share Lake Vostok ice core
3/22/2002 - Researchers describe water balance in subglacial Lake Vostok & propose research
3/21/2002 - Origin and fate of Lake Vostok water frozen to the base of the East Antarctic ice sheet
10/26/2000 - The lost world of Lake Vostok
12/10/1999 - Bacteria found in Antarctic ice core

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