After drilling down through almost half a mile in solid ice on a glacial shelf in Antarctica, scientists found something surprising. There was something alive swimming in the just over 30 feet of water: this strange, clear fish.
Scientific American describes what happened as researchers from Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling piloted a robot in the cold shallow waters underneath the ice to see what they could find:
People in the cargo container stared at an image of the sea floor panned out on one of the video monitors, captured by the forward-looking camera. Then someone started to yell and point. All eyes swung to the screen with the down-looking camera. A graceful, undulating shadow glided across its view, tapered front to back like an exclamation point — the shadow cast by a bulb-eyed fish. Then people saw the creature casting that shadow: bluish-brownish-pinkish, as long as a butter knife, its internal organs showing through its translucent body.
But that transparent fish wasn't the only marine life down there:
All told, the ROV encountered 20 or 30 fishes that day. "It was clear they were a community living there," Powell says, "not just a chance encounter." The translucent fish were the largest. But Deep-SCINI also encountered two other types of smaller fish — one blackish, another orange — plus dozens of red, shrimpy crustaceans flitting about, as well as a handful of other marine invertebrates that the team has so far declined to describe.
You can read the whole thing right here.
Image: Deep-SCINI UNL-Andrill SMO