In Norway, a lab inside a glacier

Norwegian scientists have developed the world's first and only laboratory inside of a glacier.

Norwegian scientists have developed the world’s first and only laboratory inside of a glacier.

Owned and managed by the Norwegian Water resources and Energy Directorate, the lab is located approximately 660 feet into the Svartisen glacier in northern Norway where the scientists have direct access to the bottom of the glacier.

Miriam Jackson, a scientist at the directory, say that the lab gives them a unique possibility to do research on glaciers—inside of a glacier—for more accurate results. This, she says, gives them a better understanding of the pattern of how ice sheets moves, which will help them fill in the gaps of how the climate change has affected Greenland and the Antarctic.

They only do research in the wintertime to avoid meltwater, and the research area has room for eight people sharing four bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a shower. Further, they have three laboratories, a walk-in freezer, a workshop—and—a water heater.

Their advantage is that they can bring in technology to test the meltwater without having to drill through several hundred feet of layers of ice, which is normal for glaciological research. Their instruments can be stored for years, which allow them to avoid disrupting the research process by exposing the material to particles that exist in the air above the ground.

This lab is probably a place to be for the more adventurous. It is closed to the public, for security reasons, but exceptions have been made for TV crews and the media. The research team can only get there by helicopter or by boat, before they start hike to the entrance area. Then, they have to move quickly down the 600 feet tunnel because it keeps shrinking by the minute. It is not a place for the claustrophobic.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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