This is a pictorial representation of Lake Vostok and how tremendous of an effort it actually was to drill down that far.
After two decades of chilly drilling and fiery debate, a Russian team has finally broken into Lake Vostok. The largest of the lakes hidden under Antarctica’s ice, and the most deeply buried, Vostok has been isolated for millions of years and may contain specially adapted microorganisms. “I’m sure they’re drinking vodka this week,” says John Priscu, an Antarctic researcher at Montana State University in Bozeman, who has been in contact with the Russian team.
According to Valery Lukin, director of the Russian Antarctic programme, the drill hit lake water 3,769.3 metres down at 10:25 p.m. on 5 February local time (see ‘Long way down’). Temperatures were plummeting as the Antarctic summer ended, and scientists left the next day before it became too cold for planes to fly safely. “Talk about suspense. It has been a nail-biter for the past couple of weeks,” says Priscu.
Source -> http://www.nature.com/news/russians-celebrate-vostok-victory-1.10021
Earlier links: http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2012/02/they-reached-ice.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/01/russian-scientists-to-drill-into.html