Australian scientists worked on an important research project under the thick ice of East Antarctica’s O’Brien Bay in late 2016. They’d sent a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) down a hole in the ice to retrieve data logging equipment. The ROV had a camera mounted. What it showed the scientists was both completely unexpected and vividly beautiful.
The scientists were working for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), which is part of the national Department of the Environment. The Kingston, Tasmania, division operates three permanent bases in the Antarctic – Casey, Davis and Mawson. The researchers at O’Brien Bay worked out of the Casey Station.
Casey was constructed between 1964 and 1969 near the site of a disused U.S. base, Wilkes. That had earlier become overwhelmed by the encroaching Antarctic snow and ice. The original Casey itself fell victim to corrosion caused by the ferocious Antarctic conditions. Consequently, it was rebuilt towards the end of the 1980s.