A statement released on behalf of British scientists running the Antarctic mission confirmed drilling was called off in the early hours of Christmas Day:
Drilling was proceeding well during the weekend after a replacement part was fitted to the boiler used to heat water for drilling.
Drilling stopped after the team was unable to form properly the water-filled cavity 300 metres beneath the ice.
This cavity was to link the main borehole with a secondary borehole used to recirculate drilling water back to the surface.
Scientists are to begin drilling through 3km of ice to reach an Antarctic lake that has been untouched for hundreds of thousands of years.
A team of British scientists is set to start drilling deep into an Antarctic ice sheet in the hope of finding life in an ancient lake.