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While on vacation 20 years ago in Maui I read a paperback found in the rental apartment I stayed at. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which often enters my thoughts and would love to find and read it again now if possible.

It takes place in Antarctica and centers around a mysterious scientific discovery the government is keeping top secret. A select few international scientists have been gathered to investigate the phenomenon.

One by one the scientists are dying under unusual circumstances.

A final detail I recall is that there is a large number of hammerhead sharks in the water surrounding this thing.

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  • If someone posts the correct answer, you can accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons, as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 19 at 12:51
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    You're not thinking about Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr., the 1938 novella on which Carpenter's The Thing was based on.
    – tgrignon
    Commented Mar 19 at 13:14
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    The number of stories about a mysterious scientific discovery located in antartica is outstanding.
    – Questor
    Commented Mar 19 at 16:50
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    @Questor: To some degree, it's one of the few remaining places on Earth (that and the bottom of the Ocean) where it's plausible that we've missed something until now.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 20 at 23:19

2 Answers 2

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Dan Brown's Deception Point perhaps?

On the eve of a United States presidential election, NASA discovers a meteorite in the Milne Ice Shelf containing fossils of insect-like creatures, seemingly proving the existence of extraterrestrial life. The discovery could potentially be a deciding factor in the presidential election, in which one of the key issues is whether to continue funding NASA. Incumbent US President Zachary Herney favors supporting space research, while his challenger Senator Sedgewick Sexton argues for dissolving NASA.

President Herney sends a team of experts to the Arctic to verify the authenticity of the extraterrestrial insect: oceanographer Michael Tolland, astrophysicist Corky Marlinson, glaciologist Norah Mangor, paleontologist Wailee Ming, and National Reconnaissance Office employee Rachel Sexton, Senator Sexton's daughter.

When the scientists find an anomaly that calls the authenticity of NASA's discovery into question, they're attacked by a Delta Force team that had secretly been spying on them. The Delta Force soldiers kill Ming and Mangor while leaving Rachel, Tolland and Marlinson to perish on an ice floe, but they're rescued by the Navy submarine USS Charlotte. Rachel alerts presidential advisor Marjorie Tench and NRO director William Pickering of the attack, and Pickering sends an air transport to bring them back to the United States.

The soldiers wind up eaten by the sharks. Them being hammerheads is mentioned on this book notes site.

On the Goya, Rachel, Michael and Corky can feel the heat rising off the water and see the shadows of the hammerhead sharks. Michael explains that the sharks have a heightened sense of smell and only attack when they smell blood. Micheal says that unless you are bleeding, you have nothing to worry about, and you can swim next to them without their realizing it. Rachel tries calling Pickering, but gets static and a series of clicks, and she quickly disconnects the call. Rachel then asks the helicopter pilot to turn on his radar and notify her immediately if he sees anything.

I remembered having read this one some years ago, and knew it involved scientists being killed off in Antarctica, had to search to find the shark plot point. I mainly remembered it for the soldiers carrying experimental guns that shot ammo made from their surroundings (here, ice bullets).

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    If so, I don't think it would be a match for the site. Everything in the book is fairly grounded in science. Well, except for it being written by Dan Brown, but that's a separate matter.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 19 at 13:38
  • Given how little the US public really GAS about NASA, it seems like it would be far easier just to change his political stance on the subject than it would be to assassinate scientists on the other end of the globe.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Mar 20 at 14:31
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Matthew Reilly's book "Ice Station"

After a diving team at Wilkes Ice Station is killed, the station sends out a distress signal. A team of United States Force Recon Marines led by Shane Schofield, code named Scarecrow, arrives at the station. At the station he finds several French scientists have arrived, and several more come after the Marines' arrival. The French reveal themselves as soldiers and a fight ensues in the station, claiming the lives of Scarecrow's men Hollywood, Legs and Ratman, along with several scientists and most of the French soldiers, while Mother loses her leg, Samurai is badly injured, and two French scientists are captured.

Schofield decides to send a team down to find an object below the ice where the diving team was going. Later, Samurai is found strangled, leaving the only people he trusts to be one of the scientists, Sarah Hensleigh and another soldier named Montana as he was with them at the time of Samurai's death. Hensleigh, Montana and two other Marines, Gant and Santa Cruz, are sent down to where the diving team vanished. While alone, Schofield is shot and killed. He later wakes up, found to have been accidentally resurrected by his attacker, and is in the care of scientist James Renshaw, the believed killer of one of the other scientists at Wilkes. Watching a video of Schofield's death, they see the attacker and discover it to be one of Schofield's men, Snake. The two capture Snake before he is able to kill the wounded Mother.

Meanwhile in the United States, Andrew Trent and Pete Cameron meet, Cameron being a news reporter and Trent being a former Marine using the alias of Andrew Wilcox to avoid being found by the U.S military who a few years back had tried to kill him. They hear the distress call from Schofield and Trent realizes that what happened to him was happening to Schofield.

The team learns of an impending attack by the British SAS and decide to flee the station. During the escape via stolen vehicles, Schofield and Renshaw's is pushed off a cliff, Schofield's close friend Book and the step-daughter of Sarah Hensleigh, Kirsty, are captured, while Rebound escapes with four of the scientists. Schofield manages to destroy a French submarine and he and Renshaw begin their journey back towards it. Meanwhile, the SAS Brigadier Trevor Barnaby kills the two remaining French scientists and feeds Book to a pod of killer whales. Schofield returns to the station and manages to kill all of the SAS and Snake, and save Kirsty. Schofield receives a message from Trent with a list of members of a secret service known as the Intelligence Convergence Group (ICG) which includes Snake and Montana.

Gant and her team find what appears to be an alien ship, but which turns out to be a spy plane. Montana kills Santa Cruz, but is killed by mutated elephant seals. Schofield and the two others arrive and Hensleigh reveals herself to be an ICG agent, but is soon killed by a wounded Gant. Remembering the station is about to be destroyed, Schofield, Gant, Renshaw, Kirsty and her pet fur seal named Wendy escape on the spy plane and land on the USS Wasp. They later destroy the spy plane using a guided missile fired earlier. It is revealed that Mother had escaped Wilkes before its destruction and was saved by US forces.

The survivors get to Hawaii where they are nearly killed by an ICG agent before being saved by Andrew Trent, Pete and Allison Cameron, and the captain of the USS Wasp. Renshaw assumes custody of Kirsty since he is her godfather, and Schofield doesn't leave Gant's side until she recovers.

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