The Very Strange Case Of The
NSA And Lake Vostok
In Antarctica
From Harry Mason
orbitx@ (2-28-01)

From Harry Mason
Dear Jeff,
I have received several e-mails from irate Antarctic personnel and others upset at "MY" article re Lake Vostock and "NSA Overide-Coverup" as shown on your web site. Basically they seem to think that I verified and am the source of the Anon NSA Overide-Coverup" story that started this entire discussion - which I was NOT !!!
Whilst reviewing the recent post on your web site it has become obvious that the ex-Nexus ex-Scientific American ex-Anon (believed to be an NASA-JPL insider) "NSA Overide-Coverup" story line as reproduced there DOES give the impression that I have written it and verified it.
I am sure that this is purely an editing error whilst attempting to cull the various dispatches forwarded to you by me a few months ago. In fact, I DID NOT write it, NOR have I verified its veracity. AND, in later emails on the subject matter over the last few months I have raised several redflag outpoints concerning different aspects of this allegedly true "NSA Overide-Coverup" Anon story.
In short, I am reasonably certain that 90% of the original Anon story is a concocted piece of bullshit that was foistered upon Nexus Magazine via Scientific American magazine from person(s) unknown for reasons unknown.
The story of the reforced repatriation of the two female Antarctic skiers, the alledged "pulled" satellite image, the location of the Lake Vostock camp and magnetic anomaly, and the original dispatch's apparent legal NASA advisory report number are all seriously flawed and quite untrue aspects of this Anon story. Thus, there appear to be enough outpoints to junk the entire story. This was not the case when I first received it a few months ago - but has been the case since a week after my first dispatch on this matter.
Some basic aspects of the original Anon story ARE factual eg: regarding the Lake Vostok magnetic anomaly and potential environmental dangers of drilling there. What I have done is to append to my advisory e-mails to you and others on this Anon storyline MY OWN views on geological aspects and INFO from my discussions on matters geological with Prof. Thomas Gold (which he was keen to see go public) as regards to the Lake Vostok magnetic anomaly and the possible truth of the environmental gas emission dangers reported in this Anon story.
I append below relevant quotes from my various e-mails on this subject for your info. Perhaps you could post this correction onto the same page as the Lake Vostok story to clear up any misunderstanding that might arise in your readers minds as to the EXACT origins of the original ANON Lake Vostok story line, and my personal beliefs as to it's veracity.
Regards, Harry Mason
Excerpts from my more recent private discussion e-mails to Nexus Magazine personnel (Jeff Rense - and others) on the Lake Vostok NSA Over-Ride story line :-
Re: the two women sking across the ice shelf scenario - they were interviewed on Australian ABC news a few days ago after being dropped off at an Australian Antarctic base by the US "rescue" team. I saw this news segment. They stated they personally requested airlift as their progress had been slower than anticipated and they were in danger from rapidly advancing winter storms. Once these hit you are isolated from air or ground rescue for months. They appeared quite relaxed but wistful about their need for rescue - did not appear "got at" - but who knows ???
I have previously seen the most outrageous lies propagated by our ABC TV News over the AUM sect and Banjawarn Station Sarin Nerve gas stories. My personal field research interviewed the Banjawarn Station people (indigenous and white) and uncovered a huge series of lies aired knowingly by the ABC - so who knows on this Antarctic scenario ??? But I begin to suspect we should red flag this story as of doubtful veracity !!!
Just another point about the "Space Mapping Mission of Antarctica Aborted Due to NSA Over-Ride" story.
The letter states that "The linked photo at the end was released by NASA in Jan 2001 seemingly by mistake. It is no longer available from the official archive" !!!
Yet take a look at this reproduction of an official NASA web site of the EXACT SAME radarsat image and the attached section (58.1Kb jpg) image I just cut out today (1-03-2001 - 2.00pm) from the Vostock High Resolution Bird's Eye View Tif (3.8Mb) that I downloaded today from
Thus it has NOT been pulled as the Anon "NSA Over-Ride" story alleges ..........
Further - a close inspection reveals a road running diagonally from SW to NE across the lake (smoothed out on Anons original jpg - but just visible there also) that originates at a camp site in the SW corner of the lake with a NNW trending "airstrip" ??? The road continues NE off of the field of the image. I suspect that the image provided by anon has incorrectly labelled the SW airstrip and camp as the "Magnetic Anomaly" and has most certainly placed Vostok Station (Russia) with an arrow pointing where there is nothing but Ice. Incidentally elsewhere in NASA literature Vostok Station is said to be situated at the southern end of the lake and if NASA followed convention with it's image orientation then Vostok Station is where the airstrip-camp site show in the SW part of the lake. In otherwords who ever wrote up the story line did NOT know much about the correct location of things around lake vostok.
Also the Russians have drilled down 3600 metres since the lake discovery in the 1970's (to some 400 metres ??? above the liquid lake surface) with preserved ice cores being sent to Montana State University a few years ago. These have been analysed and they found various gases locked up in the ice (including methane).
Due to the above errors about the so called missing (removed) image and the location of sites around Lake Vostok I am inclined to place a very large red flag against this anon post. Do you have any corroborative data for the original premise of NSA Over-Ride and the removal from stage of Debra Shingteller..................
A friend has found NASA Press Release 01-24 from Feb 21-2001 which I copy below for your info. THis is where the first part of David's original Anon post came from - namely the names and addresses of David E. Steitz and Rosemary Sullivent followed by the Release : 01-24 number.
It does not prove that David's post from the anon editor source is a fake however - since the body of his anon letter states who it came from - but it is a tad worrying as to why it was inserted in a manner that "appears" to give official status number 01-24 to the title "SPACE MAPPING MISSION OF ANTARCTICA ABORTED DUE TO NSA OVER-RIDE" . When the actual title of NASA Release 01-24 is (as seen below) "SPACE MAPPING MISSION CATCHES ANTARCTICA IN MOTION"..............................
Personally I would like to see some more backing for the original press conference - Anon story ???? Have you got any more info ???
Just two extra points re Vostok story. I have just read the story in the Antarctic Sun
I quote from there :-
"The evidence is a huge magnetic anomaly on the east coast of the lake's shoreline. As the first SOAR flight crossed over to the lake's east side, the magnetometer dial swung suddenly. The readings changed almost 1,000 nanotesla from the normal 60,000 nanoteslas around Vostok. A tesla is the standard measure of magnetism. Studinger typically finds anomalies of 500-to-600 nanotesla in places where volcanic material has poured out of the ground
"When we first saw this huge magnetic anomaly, that was very exciting," Studinger said.
Usually magnetic anomalies are much smaller and it takes some effort to distinguish the anomaly from normal daily changes in the magnetic field. In this case there was no confusion.
"This anomaly is so big that it can't be caused by a daily change in the magnetic field," Studinger said.
The anomaly was big in another way, encompassing the entire Southeast corner of the lake, about (65 b 46 miles) 105 km by 75 km. The size and extremity of the magnetic anomaly indicated the geological structure changes beneath the lake, and Studinger guessed it might be a region where the earth's crust is thinner.
To create the type of topography found at Lake Vostok, the earth's crust was probably stretched, thinning one to three percent as it pulled taut, Studinger said."
I (HM) deal with interpreteting aeromagnetic imagery daily in my mineral exploration work here in OZ. The huge size and intensity of the above mentioned magnetic anomaly strongly suggests a very large ultrabasic complex is present below this section of lake Vostok in the continental crustal rock surface ie at the old land surface -pre ice level. This would fit with the apparently tensional pull-apart rifted tectonic style of the lake geo-environment and would probably represent a major mantle derrived plume of ultrabasic intrusives along the lines of Prof Careys Expanding Earth diapirs - this fits the stretched crust model noted by Studinger above.
As such it would also fit Prof. Gold's hypothesis that there is a substantial - possibly world climate dangerous amount if released - volume of methane (as hydrate at the expected temperatures ???) plus oil and other exotic gas (He, X, etc) component to the hot water lake - sourced from the Mantle-Core along the upwelling structural plumbing. The reported "ice boils" could easily be composed of gaseous plumes frozen into the ice - arrested as it were in their upwards progress - initially as hotwater gas mixtures but cooled by the surrounding ice until their water content froze and they could no longer melt (ie. rise) through the ice above them. As such these ice boils could represent fascinating analogies with granite intrusive plumes in mountain belts - both "boils" rise due to their heat melting above rock (ice) layers whiulst their lower density relative to enclosing rocks causes a gravity gradient and drives their upward motion until they crystalise (freeze).
The ice "dunes" look like flat ice folded under stress - also analagous to folds in sediments in mountain belts around the planet - possibly due to gravity sliding away from the upwelling diapir of lake vostok ???

--Original Message--
From: Nexus Magazine-UK
To: davidkingston@
Editor disclaimer: Yet unable to confirm authenticity of JPL source
2/24/01 6:23:56 PM Pacific Standard Time
This was sent to me. Where it came from I don't know yet.
David E. Steitz
Nexus Magazine
Headquarters, Washington, DC
February 21, 2001
Phone: 202 358-1730)
Space-Mapping Mission Of Antarctica Aborted - Overruled By The NSA
Contact: Rosemary Sullivant
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Phone 818/354-0747
RELEASE: 01-24-01
In a brief announcment today, NASA and the JPL terminated all further study of Lake Vostok in S. Antarctica. In an apparent slip of confidentiality, spokeswoman Debra Shingteller alluded to "National Security Issues" allowing the NSA to assume full control of what had been an International effort to explore a huge, under-ice lake near the Russian Vostok research station. Ms. Shingteller was immediately led away from the podium, and an aid responded to the many further questions with the same answer: "the project has been halted due to environmental issues", and that no further releases were pending. The large crowd of press corp. were left clamoring as the officials left the stage. Ms. Shingteller has not responded to repeated attempts at contact.
The above is a report from an official JPL PR representative who attended the announcement.
The following is part of a letter written to an editor of Scientific American Magazine (who has requested anonymity). The linked photo at the end was released by NASA in Jan 2001 seemingly by mistake. It is no longer available from the official archive...
(See satellite mages of Lake Vostok here -ed)
Approximately 300 miles from the South Pole there is a lake, a very large lake. It is Lake Vostok. It is also located over 3/4 mile beneath the Continental Ice Sheet. The best photos of Lk Vostok are from space, where the outline is clearly visible. Current ice-penetrating radar studies indicate that the water is up to 2000 ft deep in places, and has an over-arching dome up to 1/2 mile high. Estimates for filtered light at the lake surface indicate something like "continuous first morning light" during Antarctica's summer months. Thermograph imaging proposes an amazing 50-degree average water temperature with "hot spots" near 65 degrees. This can only be attributed to subsurface geothermal heat sources. At 300 miles long, and 50 miles wide, the encapsulated atmosphere should have the ability to cleanse itself through interaction with the lake, and possibly... plant life.
Also proposed as a possible route for atmospheric interaction with the lake's environment are what are being labeled "geothermal boils". These are thousands of bubbles in the ice sheet located in the some 200 sq. miles of "ice dunes" discovered by the late Russian scientist Ivan Toskovoi who was stationed at Vostok research base until his disappearance in March 2000. The surveyed bubbles range from a few to several hundred feet in diameter.
Quite possibly just as exciting as all of the data related so far, is the discovery through Magnetic Imaging that there is an extremely powerful source of magnetic energy located at the North end of the lake's shoreline. As of this writing, no one has suggested an explanation for the magnetic "anomaly".
As recently as February 2000, at least two international teams were planning separate probes of the lake. Both consisted of fairly similar robotic sensors that would have been lowered through shafts(to be drilled). The team based at Cambridge University, London were sponsored by the UK and US governments, and backed by NASA technology. For reasons not clear, both programs have been shelved indefinitely, with NASA going so far as to deny any involvement, and both governments citing "environmental concerns". An independent source that visited Norway's research base some 150 miles to the East stated that a large amount of new equipment and personnel have been arriving at Russia's Vostok Station over the last six months. This is interesting considering Russia's current financial situation.
A final note is a verified dispatch out of Casey Station(AU). The pair of women adventurers who were attempting to ski across the continent last month, and were extracted by plane during the last leg of their trip, did NOT request the intervention. Over the protests of the Australian crew at Casey, the two were airlifted via an extraordinary 48 hour flight by a USN Special Forces team out of American Samoa. According to the dispatch the women were insistent on reporting something unusual they had seen. The latest news reports have the pair resting in "seclusion".
LAKE VOSTOK : A Curiosity or a Focus for Interdisciplinary Study? The Lost World of Lake Vostok Radio Echo Sounding of Ice Deciphering Mysteries of Past Climate From Antarctic Ice Cores Antarctica's Lake Vostok Exploring Lake Vostok Scientists say Antarctic lake worth a look-see WARM LAKE FOUND UNDER ANTARCTIC ICE SHEET Frozen Time Capsule From Lake Vostok Arrives At Montana State University Bacteria May Thrive in Antarctic Lake The frosty plains of Europa
NEXUS MAGAZINE UK Office 55 Queens Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1BG, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1342 322854; Fax: +44 (0)1342 324574 UK Office e-mail: nexus@ Head Office e-mail (Australia): editor@ website:
Best regards,
David Kingston
The following e-mail reflects Professor Thomas Gold's views on the subject of the above Nexus Magazine Lake Vostock post data. Professor Gold and I have entered into a long e-mail debate over Martian Water & Palaeo Seas/planetary wide Ice sheets and have discussed at length his theories of continuously renewed Earth Core-Mantle derrived methane and oil - as opposed to the finite volume squashed bug/plant theories of the origin of oil - extant in western oil company dominated science. Prof Gold had previously stated his belief to me that Lake Vostock could contain large amounts of methane under pressure and that drilling into same might represent a hazardous operation.....
See his various oil & gas papers (including reasons for magnetite concentrations) at
Dear Mr. Mason:
Thank you for this fascinating information.
I had previously considered informing the Vostok investigators, Russian,UK,US, that there was a severe hazard that above the water there would most likely be a large amount of methane, and breaking into that would be very hazardous. It may of course be so large an amount that letting it out would make a severe change of atmospheric chemistry, and hence of climate.
The bubbles in the ice, the large dome, and the magnetic anomaly all point to such a situation. Most permafrost regions have methane underneath them, and this would be by far the largest of them. May be the scientist who vanished crashed into a methane ice bubble. Large deposits of magnetite are common in methane-rich regions, being produced from iron oxides acting as oxygen donor to microbes that live on the oxidation of methane.
If you have the contacts, feel free, or even encouraged, to distribute this letter to other parties in this business, together with my name. I don't wish to hide behind anonymity.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Gold

(Here is the original story on about the exploration of Lake Vostok. -ed)
Antarctic Lake Isolated 40 Million Years To Be Explored
By Roger Highfield
The Electronic Telegraph
Scientists are to explore one of the world's last uncharted natural wonders, a lake trapped beneath the Antarctic ice.
Eighty scientists from 14 countries will meet in Cambridge next week to discuss how to study the strange life expected to lurk in Lake Vostok, a body of water the size of Lake Ontario resting more than two miles under the East Antarctic ice cap. The lake is one of the world's 10 largest and one of about 80 lakes that underlie 10 per cent of the ice sheet of Antarctica.
Lake Vostok formed as a result of the combination of overlying pressure of ice and heat from the Earth's core. It fascinates scientists because it appears to have been isolated for millions of years, providing an opportunity for life to develop along a separate evolutionary path.
Micro-organisms that have been isolated for between one and 40 million years may be found in its sediments and water, potentially yielding promising new enzymes or antibiotics, and offering views of how ancient and contemporary microbes differ, says Cynan Ellis-Evans, who is organising the conference at Lucy Cavendish College.
Dr Ellis-Evans, a microbiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, said the conditions in the lake are probably too barren and cold - sub-zero - for larger organisms to evolve. "It could be one of the most extreme, nutrient poor, permanently pressurised, permanently cold, permanently dark environments on the planet." This would lead to slow-growing microbes that are adapted to a life of starvation. However, if a volcanic or hot spring system pumped in energy, a greater diversity of creatures may be present.
Lake Vostok is likely to be the oldest of all the "sub-glacial" ice lakes because of its size. If it has been isolated for 40 million years, there would have been enough time for unique creatures to evolve, as opposed to creatures that have adapted to a new environment. The Antarctic studies may be a prelude to similar missions elsewhere in our solar system, notably to Jupiter's moon Europa. Nasa regards the Vostok mission as a testbed for the search for alien life on the oceans thought to exist on Europa.
The Vostok exploration would take place in the next five years. The exploration of Europa would be in a series of missions beginning in 2003 and lasting for 15 years. Dr Ellis-Evans said: "All the Nasa people I am talking to are very enthusiastic about an ice penetration mission in 2015. I have no problem with the basic idea that there may be microbial life somewhere like Europa as good life markers exist there, notably liquid water, organic molecules and chemical energy sources."
The first entry of a probe into Lake Vostok will require extraordinary precautions to ensure that the vehicle and its instruments are clean, so as not to contaminate the pristine lake. One suggestion is to use a Cryobot, a 10ft 6in pencil-shaped device with a heated tip that unspools a cable carrying power and a fibre-optic video and data cable.
The Cryobot splits into two under the ice and the top half stays at the ice-water interface to hunt for life. The lower part (the point of the pencil) continues down a smaller cable until it hits the sediment at the bottom, where it will also search for life and release a Hydrobot, a tiny submarine equipped with sonar and a camera. The Hydrobot rises like a soap bubble, reporting what it sees above and below it.

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