This Is The Fish Researchers Found Living Underneath 2,400 Feet Of Ice

Illustration for article titled This Is The Fish Researchers Found Living Underneath 2,400 Feet Of Ice

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.

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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.

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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

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DISCUSSION

Reporter: Um, could you please describe the crustaceans you found?

Scientist: No. This press conference is over.