Scientific research in the area close to the Russian Antarctic station Vostok has been carried out since its founding on December 16, 1957. The relevance of work to study the region is steadily increasing, which is confirmed by the Strategy for the Development of Activities of the Russian Federation in the Antarctica until 2030. As part of the Strategy implementation, Saint Petersburg Mining University solves the comprehensive study issues of the Vostok station area, including the subglacial Lake Vostok, related to the development of modern technologies and technical means for drilling glaciers and underlying rocks, opening subglacial reservoirs, sampling water and bottom sediments, as well as carrying out comprehensive geological and geophysical research. For the successful implementation of the Strategy, at each stage of the work it is necessary to identify and develop interdisciplinary connections while complying with the requirements for minimizing the impact on the environment. During the season of the 68th Russian Antarctic Expedition, the staff of the Mining University, along with the current research works , began research of the dynamic interactions between the forces of the Earth, from the deepest depths to the surface glacier. Drilling and research programs have been completed. The drilling program was implemented jointly with colleagues from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute at the drilling complex of the 5G well. The research program included: shallow seismic studies, core drilling of snow-firn strata, study of the snow-firn strata petrostructural features, studies of cuttings collection filters effectiveness when drilling snow-firn strata and the process of ice destruction in a reciprocating rotational method, bench testing of an acoustic scanner. As a result of drilling in 5G well at the depth range of 3453.37-3534.43 m, an ice core more than 1 million years old was obtained.
The subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctic is a unique natural phenomenon, its comprehensive study involves sampling of water and bottom surface rocks. For further study of the lake, it is necessary to drill a new access well and develop environmentally safe technologies for its exploration. This article discusses existing and potential technologies for sampling bottom surface rocks of subglacial lakes. All these technologies meet environmental safety requirements and are conducive for sampling. The authors have proposed an alternative technology, using a walking device, which, due to its mobility, enables selective sampling of rocks across a large area from a single access well. The principal issues, related to the implementation of the proposed technology, are investigated within this article. This report is prepared by a team of specialists with many years of experience in drilling at the Vostok Station in Antarctic and in experimental work on the design of equipment and non-standard means of mechanization for complicated mining, geological and climatic conditions.