Antarctica: Oddities; Discoveries; Mysteries

Old_Pretender

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According to my now extinct Sony Clie PDA (and now I see a linked BBC article on Fortean's home page), the marine districts of Antarctica may be the source of all marine life. Now, as far as I am concerned, the actual implications of this are rather monumental. If all marine life originated in the waters around Antarctica, and all life is believed to come from the sea...

You see my point?

It also invigorates those theories which connect the great unknown continent (which currently lies under the great ice sheets of the south pole) and the possibility of an ancient civilisation having been fostered there before the ice obliterated it. The discovery of the fossil of an enormous meat eating dinosaur confirmed a few years ago that the Antarctic continent was once warm. Such a dinosaur cannot evolve on packed ice. It's sheer size reveals that it came from warmer climbs...when Antarctica was closer to the equator.

Not only could such a creature fail to survive (or even evolve into such a form over millenia) but there would be no reasonable source of food with which to crush with those enormous teeth (which in turn could also not evolve to such a great size without a decent and regular source of 'big meat').

The work of the late Robert Argod may also be given a new lease of life. His attractive theory that the ancient civilisation in question were none other than the ancestors of the Polynesians is convincing to say the least. For those unfamiliar with his work, he pinpointed specific cultural and historical references (in addition to his own mastery of navigation and geology) which highlight atmospheric phenomena unknown to the current inhabitants of that gregarious region in the Pacific.

Then there's Atlantis.

Well, I just wanted to share these thoughts. Wonder what you all think and all that jazz...

P.S Excuse the 'Extinct PDA' pun in the first line. I have just found out that SONY have dropped it from their product lists. This means that support will soon stop.
 

Xanatico

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Well, I think continental drift theories have long said that Antartica was once located in warmer climates. Problem is I don´t think it is supposed to have been ice free for about 500.000 years. Which means any civilisation there would have probably been long forgotten.
 

Old_Pretender

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Geological calculations need a marvelous overhaul. There is too much reliance on presumption, assumption and dubious comparitive data.

But you are right, the memory of this HAS been wiped out. I certainly don't remember it. :D
 

ramonmercado

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Then theres these odd mountains under the ice. Never know what you might find there.

Mystery Deepens Over Unseen Antarctic "Alps"
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... 21510.html
Rebecca Carroll
for National Geographic News

November 6, 2008

The existence of a massive Antarctic mountain range buried under miles of ice has become an even deeper mystery, a new study says.

The little-researched Gamburtsev Mountains seem to challenge geologic patterns seen in other mountain ranges on Earth.

For one, the range is situated in the middle of the continent instead of on the edge—at the plate-tectonic boundaries—like most other mountains. (See a high-resolution map of Antarctica.)

The range's high peaks reach an elevation of about 10,000 feet (more than 3,000 meters)—heights typical of relatively young mountain ranges, such as the spiky Rockies and the European Alps.

New findings based on river sediments, which suggest the range is more than 500 million years old, are intriguing, experts say.

Older mountains, such as the Appalachian range in the eastern U.S., are thought to be shorter and less rugged after hundreds of millions of years of erosion.

Because the Gamburtsev range is tall, some scientists have argued it must have formed relatively recently—within the last 60 million years or so.

And because it's not near a tectonic boundary, some have suggested the range rose up as the result of magma buildup around a theoretical volcanic hot spot.

(Related: "Under-Ice Volcano Eruption Spewed Ash Over Antarctica" [January 21, 2008].)

"The hypothesis that the mountains are derived from young volcanic activity is hard to reconcile with our data," said study lead author Tina van de Flierdt of the Imperial College London.

Hard to Reconcile

Scientists examined sediments collected from a coastal area that would have been a vast delta about 35 million years ago, when Antarctica's rivers carried flowing water instead of glacier ice.

If the mountains were made of relatively recent volcanic material, some of it should have been in the sediment as Gamburtsev runoff passed through the delta.

Instead, all mineral grains the researchers dated—such as zircon and hornblende—were more than 500 million years old.

"Volcanic activity of the extent to form a mountain range bigger than the European Alps would leave a 'geochemical fingerprint' in the preglacial to present-day sediments—we simply can't see this fingerprint," van de Flierdt said.

The study, which is based in part on van de Flierdt's work at Columbia University, was published online this week by Geophysical Research Letters.

Missing Erosion

A remaining mystery, according to study co-author Sidney Hemming, is why the mountains have not eroded more.

"The new data we're collecting makes it look like the erosion rates are so extremely low," said the Columbia University geochemist.

Hemming cautioned that researchers can't be certain the sediments are from the mountain.

It's possible, she added, that the ice has helped keep the rocks in place, but that does not explain the lack of erosion from ancient periods when the ice was not there.

"We can say that they're either not hot spot volcanic [mountains] or that they formed after the ice basically capped them off," Hemming said.

But, she said, later formation is highly unlikely: "It would be hard to imagine that it wouldn't leave some evidence in the ice or sediments."

Not Volcanic

The study makes a good case for the theory that the mountains were not formed by recent volcanic activity, said University of Arizona geochemist Peter Reiners, who was not involved with the research.

"If the mountains themselves are anywhere close to the same age as the rocks, then the Gamburtsevs are trying to tell us something about how really old topography can persist for hundreds of millions of years without being worn down by water, wind, and glaciers," said Reiners, who also studies the range.

Norm Sleep, a Stanford University geophysicist who also studies the Gamburtsev Mountains but wasn't involved with this study, agreed with the data but not the interpretation.

Sleep worried that "550-million-year-old highlands would have long since eroded away."

Instead, he suggests a gooey, semi-solid plume of material could have formed a pond deep under Earth's cooler outer lid of rock. This would have caused the mountains to rise without spewing magma all over the surface.

Such an event may have happened within the last 50 million years, he said.
 

James_H

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The (arctic, but you can see my point?) polar bear is a big meat carnivore and seems to get along in polar climes... Or it did until we all started using radiators etc.
 

ramonmercado

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all sorts of life there...

Antarctica Has More Species Than Galapagos, First Comprehensive Inventory Of Antarctic Life Shows
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 082401.htm

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2008) — The first comprehensive “inventory” of sea and land animals around a group of Antarctic islands reveals a region that is rich in biodiversity and has more species than the Galapagos. The study provides an important benchmark to monitor how they will respond to future environmental change.

Reporting this week in the Journal of Biogeography, the team from British Antarctic Survey and University of Hamburg, describe how they combed the land, sea and shores of the South Orkney Islands, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, using scuba divers and trawled nets to catch creatures as deep as 1500 metres.

Animals recorded were then checked with a century of literature and modern databases and the team concludes there are over 1200 known marine and land species. These include sea urchins, free-swimming worms, crustaceans and molluscs, mites and birds. Five were new to science.

Lead author Dr David Barnes from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) says: “This is the first time anybody has done an inventory like this in the polar regions. It’s part of the Census of Marine Life (COML) – an international effort to assess and explain the diversity and distribution of marine life in the world’s oceans. If we are to understand how these animals will respond to future change, a starting point like this is really important.”

Author Stefanie Kaiser from University of Hamburg says: “We never knew there were so many different species on and around these islands. This abundance of life was completely unexpected for a location in the polar regions, previously perceived to be poor in biodiversity.”

The research team, consisting of 23 scientists from five research institutes, spent seven weeks on the BAS Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross in 2006.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 082401.htm
 
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ramonmercado

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Ancient supernovae may be recorded in Antarctic ice
www.newscientist.com/article/dn16701-an ... c-ice.html
Stephen Battersby

A newly examined ice core shows what may be the chemical traces of supernovae that exploded a thousand years ago.

Yuko Motizuki of the RIKEN research institute in Wako, Japan, and colleagues analysed the nitrate content of an ice core drilled at Dome Fuji station in Antarctica. Nitrate is produced in the atmosphere by nitrogen oxides, which in turn should be created by the gamma radiation from a supernova.

Motizuki's group found high nitrate concentrations in three thin layers about 50 metres deep. Because snow gradually builds up into layers of ice, depth indicates age.

After calibrating this icy calendar using chemical markers laid down by known volcanic eruptions, the team found that one nitrate spike is close to the year 1054, when Chinese observers saw a bright supernova. That explosion left behind the Crab Nebula and pulsar. Another spike is close to 1006, the year of an even brighter supernova.

Unseen supernova?
The third nitrate spike is around the year 1060, when no supernova was reported. The authors suggest that it might be the result of a supernova in the less-well observed southern hemisphere or one that was hidden behind a dark interstellar cloud and therefore went unnoticed.

Robert Rood of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville says the new work is "reasonably convincing".

In the 1970s, Rood found evidence for the supernovae of 1572 and 1604 in Antarctic ice cores, but his results were questioned because ice cores from Greenland failed to show the same nitrate spikes. Rood counters that the nitrate signal had been diluted by higher levels of precipitation in Greenland and a less efficient transport mechanism from the atmosphere above the north pole.

Previous hints
But he admits that he was a little naive about sources of contamination - just a speck of soil could skew the nitrate measurements. He says the Japanese group has been more careful. "It's probably a better case than what we had back there in the dark ages," Rood told New Scientist.

Gisela Dreschoff of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, however, thinks that she already had strong evidence that supernovae make their mark in Earth's icecaps.

Dreschoff and colleague Claude Laird, who worked with Rood in 1979, analysed three more cores in 2004 - two pulled out of Antarctica and one from Greenland (Advances in Space Research (vol 38, p 1307)).

All three cores showed spikes marking both the 1054 and 1006 explosions. Since those cores were taken from both the north and south polar regions, she said her team's detection of supernovae is firm - but she welcomes the Japanese core as further evidence.

Supernova rate
Radioactive iron-60 in ocean sediment has previously been used to reveal a prehistoric supernova that occurred millions of years ago. But while sediment studies stretch back far in time, they may only reveal those supernovae that exploded relatively near the Sun, which would have left behind bigger isotope signals.

Because of the limited depth of the Antarctic ice, the new method would stretch back less than a million years. But if it does indeed record these subtle nitrate spikes, it could potentially reveal more distant supernovae.

If the new results are confirmed by more ice cores, "potentially you could get the supernova rate going back several thousand years", says Rood. That's important to astronomers because supernovae affect the workings of the whole galaxy, churning up interstellar gas and triggering star formation.

Journal reference: Study abstract (submitted to Nature)
www.newscientist.com/article/dn16701-an ... c-ice.html
 
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ramonmercado

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More on Antartic mountains. Images at link.

Data to expose 'ghost mountains'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8420837.stm
By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News, San Francisco



A simple illustration of the Gamburtsevs inferred from new gravity data


Enlarge Image





Scientists who mapped one of the most enigmatic mountain ranges on Earth have given a first glimpse of their data.

An international team spent two months in 2008/9 surveying the Gamburtsevs in Antarctica - a series of peaks totally buried under the ice cap.

The group has told a major conference in the US that the hidden mountains are more jagged than previously thought.

They are also more linear in shape than the sparse data collected in the past had suggested.

This latter finding hints at a possible origin for the mountains whose existence has perplexed scientists for 50 years.

"If you have a linear structure it makes them more like the Alps or the Appalachians," explained Dr Michael Studinger from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University, New York.

"These are mountain ranges that formed by the collision of tectonic plates." But he stressed that the analysis of the survey data was in its infancy and the team would publish their final assessments in forthcoming papers in the formal scientific literature.


The conditions during the survey were extremely harsh

Dr Studinger is one of the leading scientists on the AGAP (Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province) project. He has been speaking here at the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world's largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.

The mountains were discovered by a Soviet team during the International Geophysical Year in 1957-8. Their detection was a complete surprise because the rock bed in the middle of the Antarctic continent was assumed to be relatively flat.

It led many to speculate that the Gamburtsevs might be old "hot spot" volcanoes that had punched their way through the Earth's crust, much like the Hawaiian islands have done in the middle of the Pacific.

EXPANDING ICE SHEET



BACK
NEXT1 of 4The range has since become the subject of intense scientific fascination because it was almost certainly a nucleation point some 30 million years ago for the huge ice sheets now covering Antarctica.

Studying them has been immensely difficult, however. Conditions are brutal; temperatures can go below -80C.

It was only with the concerted effort organised around International Polar Year in 2007-8 that a full-scale aerogeophysical survey became possible.

Two instrumented Twin-Otter aircraft were flown out of remote field camps and collected a range of data.

They crisscrossed the hidden peaks, flying a total of 120,000km. They gathered gravity, magnetic and ice thickness information, took radar images of the rock bed and the layers within the ice; and made a map of the ice-sheet's surface with a laser.

"We have now reached a point in the data processing that allows us to start scientific work with the data," Dr Studinger told BBC News.


ANTARCTICA'S GAMBURTSEV MOUNTAINS

Aircraft flew over the surface, taking images of the ice and rock underneath

The shallowest ice covering the mountains is hundreds of metres thick. The deepest ice detected is about 4,800m thick. The mountains themselves are standing about 2,500m above sea level.

It is now clear the range has a defined linear trend, in contrast to the previously mapped circular feature, and that this trend strikes predominantly to the north-east.

The data also reveals a very rugged landscape with high peaks and deeply incised valleys which have been worked in the past by both river and ice processes.

"Before we had this data we couldn't see the valleys and therefore we had no way of being able to quantify the role of glacial and fluvial processes which is key to understanding cryosphere and climate evolution," said Dr Fausto Ferraccioli from the British Antarctic Survey.

Studying what happened in these valleys could give clues as to how fast the Gamburtsevs became encased in ice.


The Twin Otter planes flew back and forth across the ice

The survey also detected pockets of liquid water at the base of the ice and the team will now try to work out if and how these ponds might be interconnected.

"We're seeing evidence of water in the very centre of the ice sheet," said Dr Robin Bell, also from LDEO.

"We're really excited about being able to use this dataset to see how valleys that were carved by rivers and then overprinted by glaciers are now driving waters underneath the ice sheet."

In addition, Dr Ferraccioli said it was possible a location could be found where ices might be drilled to retrieve information on the ancient climate of Antarctica.

"There could be ice that is older than 1.2 million years - somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million years," he told BBC News. "We will have to do an analysis of the ice layers. But I think it's going to be quite a challenge because the topography is very rough and the layers are quite buckled."

Chinese scientists reported in June the results of survey data they had acquired at the Gamburtsevs. This was, however, just a 30km by 30km square. In the AGAP project, over 20% (one-fifth) of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was explored.


The AGAP field stations were in the middle of nowhere

[email protected].
 

ramonmercado

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Once upon a time, nay maybe several times Antarctica hosted many life forms and was more hospitable than previously thought.

Ancient Warming Greened Antarctica, Study Finds
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 170307.htm

This artist's rendition created from a photograph of Antarctica shows what Antarctica possibly looked like during the middle Miocene epoch, based on pollen fossil data. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Dr. Philip Bart, LSU)

ScienceDaily (June 17, 2012) — A new university-led study with NASA participation finds ancient Antarctica was much warmer and wetter than previously suspected. The climate was suitable to support substantial vegetation -- including stunted trees -- along the edges of the frozen continent.

The team of scientists involved in the study, published online June 17 in Nature Geoscience, was led by Sarah J. Feakins of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and included researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

By examining plant leaf wax remnants in sediment core samples taken from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, the research team found summer temperatures along the Antarctic coast 15 to 20 million years ago were 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) warmer than today, with temperatures reaching as high as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). Precipitation levels also were found to be several times higher than today.

"The ultimate goal of the study was to better understand what the future of climate change may look like," said Feakins, an assistant professor of Earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "Just as history has a lot to teach us about the future, so does past climate. This record shows us how much warmer and wetter it can get around the Antarctic ice sheet as the climate system heats up. This is some of the first evidence of just how much warmer it was."

Scientists began to suspect that high-latitude temperatures during the middle Miocene epoch were warmer than previously believed when co-author Sophie Warny, assistant professor at LSU, discovered large quantities of pollen and algae in sediment cores taken around Antarctica. Fossils of plant life in Antarctica are difficult to come by because the movement of the massive ice sheets covering the landmass grinds and scrapes away the evidence.

"Marine sediment cores are ideal to look for clues of past vegetation, as the fossils deposited are protected from ice sheet advances, but these are technically very difficult to acquire in the Antarctic and require international collaboration," said Warny.

Tipped off by the tiny pollen samples, Feakins opted to look at the remnants of leaf wax taken from sediment cores for clues. Leaf wax acts as a record of climate change by documenting the hydrogen isotope ratios of the water the plant took up while it was alive.

"Ice cores can only go back about one million years," Feakins said. "Sediment cores allow us to go into 'deep time.'"

Based upon a model originally developed to analyze hydrogen isotope ratios in atmospheric water vapor data from NASA's Aura spacecraft, co-author and JPL scientist Jung-Eun Lee created experiments to find out just how much warmer and wetter climate may have been.

"When the planet heats up, the biggest changes are seen toward the poles," Lee said. "The southward movement of rain bands associated with a warmer climate in the high-latitude southern hemisphere made the margins of Antarctica less like a polar desert, and more like present-day Iceland."

The peak of this Antarctic greening occurred during the middle Miocene period, between 16.4 and 15.7 million years ago. This was well after the age of the dinosaurs, which became extinct 64 million years ago. During the Miocene epoch, mostly modern-looking animals roamed Earth, such as three-toed horses, deer, camel and various species of apes. Modern humans did not appear until 200,000 years ago.

Warm conditions during the middle Miocene are thought to be associated with carbon dioxide levels of around 400 to 600 parts per million (ppm). In 2012, carbon dioxide levels have climbed to 393 ppm, the highest they've been in the past several million years. At the current rate of increase, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are on track to reach middle Miocene levels by the end of this century.

High carbon dioxide levels during the middle Miocene epoch have been documented in other studies through multiple lines of evidence, including the number of microscopic pores on the surface of plant leaves and geochemical evidence from soils and marine organisms. While none of these 'proxies' is as reliable as the bubbles of gas trapped in ice cores, they are the best evidence available this far back in time. While scientists do not yet know precisely why carbon dioxide was at these levels during the middle Miocene, high carbon dioxide, together with the global warmth documented from many parts of the world and now also from the Antarctic region, appear to coincide during this period in Earth's history.

This research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation with additional support from NASA. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

Sarah J. Feakins, Sophie Warny, Jung-Eun Lee. Hydrologic cycling over Antarctica during the middle Miocene warming. Nature Geoscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1498
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 170307.htm
 
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ramonmercado

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Whats in the rift valley? Cthulhu?

Hidden rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica reveals new insight into ice loss
July 25th, 2012 in Space & Earth / Earth Sciences

Map of Eltanin Bay.

Scientists have discovered a one mile deep rift valley hidden beneath the ice in West Antarctica, which they believe is contributing to ice loss from this part of the continent.

Experts from the University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) made the discovery below Ferrigno Ice Stream, a region visited only once previously, over fifty years ago, in 1961, and one that is remote even by Antarctic standards.
Their findings, reported in Nature this week reveal that the ice-filled ancient rift basin is connected to the warming ocean which impacts upon contemporary ice flow and loss.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is of great scientific interest and societal importance as it is losing ice faster than any other part of Antarctica with some glaciers shrinking by more than one metre per year.

Understanding the processes that influence ice loss from West Antarctica is important to improve predictions of its future behaviour in a warming world.

Dr Robert Bingham, a glaciologist working in the University of Aberdeen's School of Geosciences and lead author of the study, discovered the rift valley whilst undertaking three months of fieldwork with British Antarctic Survey in 2010.

Dr Bingham, whose fieldwork was funded by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said: "Over the last 20 years we have used satellites to monitor ice losses from Antarctica, and we have witnessed consistent and substantial ice losses from around much of its coastline.

"For some of the glaciers, including Ferrigno Ice Stream, the losses are especially pronounced, and, to understand why, we needed to acquire data about conditions beneath the ice surface."

The team gathered the data using an ice-penetrating radar system towed behind a skidoo driven across the relatively flat ice surface, over a distance of 1500 miles – greater than that between London and Athens.

Dr Bingham continued: "What we found is that lying beneath the ice there is a large valley, parts of which are approximately a mile deeper than the surrounding landscape.

"If you stripped away all of the ice here today, you'd see a feature every bit as dramatic as the huge rift valleys you see in Africa and in size as significant as the Grand Canyon.

"This is at odds with the flat ice surface that we were driving across – without these measurements we would never have known that it was there.
"What's particularly important is that this spectacular valley aligns perfectly with the recordings of ice-surface lowering and ice loss that we have witnessed with satellite observations over this area for the last twenty years."

Co-author and geophysicist Dr Fausto Ferraccioli from British Antarctic Survey added: "The newly discovered Ferrigno Rift is part of a huge and yet poorly understood rift system that lies beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

"What this study shows is that this ancient rift basin, and the others discovered under the ice that connect to the warming ocean can influence contemporary ice flow and may exacerbate ice losses by steering coastal changes further inland."
Professor David Vaughan, from British Antarctic Survey leads Ice2sea, a major EU-funded FP7 research programme to improve projections of global and regional sea-level. He said, "Thinning ice in West Antarctica is currently contributing nearly 10 per cent of global sea level rise. It's important to understand this hot spot of change so we can make more accurate predictions for future sea level rise."

The research in Nature is part of the British Antarctic Survey Icesheets Programme, which examines the role of ice sheets in the Earth System, and the processes that control ice-sheet change. It monitors current change and sets this in context with the past allowing more accurate projections for increases in global sea level to be made.

More information: Inland thinning of West Antarctic Ice Sheet steered along subglacial rifts by Robert G. Bingham, Fausto Ferraccioli, Edward C. King, Robert D. Larter, Hamish D. Pritchard, Andrew M. Smith, David G. Vaughan is published in the journal Nature.

Provided by British Antarctic Survey

"Hidden rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica reveals new insight into ice loss." July 25th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-07-hidden-rif ... -west.html
http://phys.org/news/2012-07-hidden-rif ... -west.html
 
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ramonmercado

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A team of researchers with affiliations to research facilities in Argentina, the U.K. and New Zealand, has confirmed that fossilized pollen grains found in Antarctica are members of the flowering plant family Asteraceae. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their research and conclude by suggesting that the fossils represent the family's oldest fossils ever discovered.

The Asteraceae family includes a lot of popular modern flowers—daisy's, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, as well as gerberas, lettuce, artichokes and even dandelions. One of their main characteristics is inflorescence, which means they have clusters of flower heads that form the larger flower. It is believed that they played a major role in the evolutionary history of many insects and pollinating birds and also perhaps that of bees and wasps. Prior research had placed their earliest known evolutionary history to approximately 60 million years ago. This new research has revealed evidence that pushes that history back another 20 million years—to the Cretaceous, which means the flowers were growing back when dinosaurs were still around.

The pollen grains were found on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, a part of what was once the super-continent Gondwana—back then the area would have been covered by lush grasslands and temperate forests. In studying the fossils, the team noted their shape, size and surface sculpture, placing them in the species Tubulifloridites lillei—other samples had been found in Australia and New Zealand but it was not until the new fossils were found in Antarctica that researchers could definitively prove that they were also members of the Asteraceae family. Further study showed that the more recently foundpollen grain fossils were similar in ways to members of the Barnadesioideae subfamily of Asteraceae found today in South America, which offers a hint of what the earlier flowers might have looked like.

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-fossil-pollen-grains-antarctica-evolutionary.html
 

Tonka

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Does anyone know why hole no2 in Antarctica has recently been obscured. Find it at 66 33 11.90 S, 99 50 19.87 E If you look at the photo you will see what was there originally
 

Peripart

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Do you mean an anomaly, or an ozone hole, or something else? Google Maps isn't working on this PC.
 

Tonka

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Its a large cave or hole in the earth 400 ft across
 

Heckler

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Tonka, I can't see anything strange at that map location, tell us more?

Is the secret Nazi flying saucer base finally visible?
 

kamalktk

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This thread has pictures of the coordinates given by Tonka:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread495433/pg1

I went to the coordinates in google earth and took the attached screenshot.

The second location mentioned,
66 36' 12.58"S
99 43' 12.72"E

Does indeed look like the pictures provided in the above thread.
 

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ramonmercado

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...
Lloyd helped deploy research seismometers across the West Antarctic Rift System and Marie Byrd Land in the austral summer of 2009-10. He then returned in late 2011 and snowmobiled more than 1,000 miles, living in a Scott tent, to recover the precious data.

The recordings the instruments made of the reverberations of distant earthquakes from January 2010 to January 2012 were used to create maps of seismic velocities beneath the rift valley. An analysis of the maps was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth on Nov. 12, 2015 (doi:10.1002/2015JB012455).

This is the first time seismologists have been able to deploy instruments rugged enough to survive a winter in this part of the frozen continent, and so this is the first detailed look at the Earth beneath this region.

Not surprisingly, the maps show a giant blob of superheated rock about 60 miles beneath Mount Sidley, the last of a chain of volcanic mountains in Marie Byrd Land at one end of the transect. More surprisingly, they reveal hot rock beneath the Bentley Subglacial Trench, a deep basin at the other end of the transect.

The Bentley Subglacial Trench is part of the West Antarctic Rift System and hot rock beneath the region indicates that this part of the rift system was active quite recently.

A volcanic mystery

Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, sits directly above a hot region in the mantle, Lloyd said. Mount Sidley is the southernmost mountain in a volcanic mountain range in Marie Byrd Land, a mountainous region dotted with volcanoes near the coast of West Antarctica. ...

https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Antarctic-seismic-survey.aspx
 

FrKadash

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'Gigantic chasm under Antarctic ice'
By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent

Hints of its presence are seen in the shape of the white continent's surface, in a largely unexplored region called Princess Elizabeth Land.
If confirmed by a proper geophysical survey - now under way - the winding canyon network would be over 1,000km long and in places as much as 1km deep.
These dimensions would make it bigger than the famous Grand Canyon in the US.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35303779
 

Jim

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Once upon a time, nay maybe several times Antarctica hosted many life forms and was more hospitable than previously thought.
It seems that Antarctica hosted different successive waves of plant and animals life predating even the dinosaurs. This may have been the last one for a limited section of Antarctica that still remained green. It froze up some 14 million years ago. An abrupt and dramatic climate cooling of 8°C in 200,000 years forced the extinction of tundra plants and insects and brought interior Antarctica into a perpetual deep-freeze from which it has never emerged, though may do again as a result of climate change.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2009/03/prehistoric-bio.html

If we go back just a bit further in time the outer edges on Antarctica were similar t todays Iceland.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-dimugno/prehistoric-climate-chang_b_1632686.html
 
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rynner2

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gond_title.gif


When you think of Antarctica, you probably think of glaciers and penguins. But if you’d visited 200 million years ago, you would have found lush forests and dinosaurs. What happened?

Scientists believe that the Earth’s continents—Africa, Eurasia, Australia, North and South America, and Antarctica—were once part of a single, giant continent called Pangaea. According to the theory, the chunk of Pangaea this is now Antarctica was once at a much balmier latitude. As it drifted toward the pole, its climate cooled and the forests and wildlife gradually gave way to ice.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/antarctica/ideas/gondwana.html

A concise look at continental drift.
 

Jim

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gond_title.gif


When you think of Antarctica, you probably think of glaciers and penguins. But if you’d visited 200 million years ago, you would have found lush forests and dinosaurs. What happened?

Scientists believe that the Earth’s continents—Africa, Eurasia, Australia, North and South America, and Antarctica—were once part of a single, giant continent called Pangaea. According to the theory, the chunk of Pangaea this is now Antarctica was once at a much balmier latitude. As it drifted toward the pole, its climate cooled and the forests and wildlife gradually gave way to ice.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/antarctica/ideas/gondwana.html

A concise look at continental drift.
The icing up of Antarctica was a very slow process caused by continental drift. Initially scientists believe that all the continents were combined into one super continent called Pangaea. The Pangaea shifted - separated into 2 super continents the one containing Antarctica being called Gondwanaland. It consisted of India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. As Gondwanaland shifted into its individual parts Antarctica broke away and stated to slowly shift towards the South Pole. It supported a variety of dinosaurs and early mammalian like forms. Up until 50 million years ago it still supported palm trees. For the last 15 million years, it has been a frozen desert under a thick ice sheet. Note: Antarctica has also been effect by global climatic conditions as well which at times have contributed to its cooling.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...-green-lush-past-Antarctica--warn-return.html

http://www.sciencefocus.com/qa/how-long-has-antarctica-been-frozen
 

ramonmercado

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Three recent publications by early career researchers at three different institutions across the country provide the first look into the biogeochemistry, geophysics and geology of Subglacial Lake Whillans, which lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The findings stem from the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Collectively, the researchers describe a wetland-like area beneath the ice. Subglacial Lake Whillans is primarily fed by ice melt, but also contains small amounts of seawater from ancient marine sediments on the lake bed. The lake waters periodically drain through channels to the ocean, but with insufficient energy to carry much sediment.

The new insights will not only allow scientists to better understand the biogeochemistry and mechanics of the lake itself, but will also allow them to use that information to improve models of how Antarctic subglacial lake systems interact with the ice above and sediment below. These models will help assess the contribution that subglacial lakes may have to the flow of water from the continent to the ocean, and therefore to sea-level rise.

In recent decades, researchers, primarily using airborne radar and satellite laser observations, have discovered that a continental system of rivers and lakes—some similar in size to North America's Great Lakes—exists beneath the miles-thick Antarctic ice sheet. These findings represent some of the very first methodical descriptions of one of those lakes based on actual sampling of water and sediments.

In January 2013, the WISSARD project successfully drilled through the ice sheet to reach Subglacial Lake Whillans, retrieving water and sediment samples from a body of water that had been isolated from direct contact with the atmosphere for many thousands of years. The team used a customized, clean hot-water drill to collect their samples without contaminating the pristine environment.

http://phys.org/news/2016-04-lies-beneath-west-antarctica.html
 

EnolaGaia

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These new findings suggest there may be surprises to be discovered in the volcanically-warmed cave systems beneath the Antarctic ice ...

Unknown species may thrive in Antarctic caves
Animals and plants may be living in warm caves under Antarctica's ice, according to a study.

Australian researchers said that Mount Erebus, an active volcano on Antarctica's Ross Island, is surrounded by caves hollowed out in the ice by steam.

Soil samples retrieved from the caves have revealed intriguing traces of DNA from mosses, algae and small animals.

The research has been published in the journal Polar Biology. ...

"There's light near the cave mouths, and light filters deeper into some caves where the overlying ice is thin."

Dr Fraser said that most of the DNA resembles that found in plants and animals from the rest of Antarctica. But that some sequences couldn't be fully identified. ...

Co-researcher Prof Craig Cary, from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, said previous research had found that a range of bacteria and fungi lived in Antarctica's volcanic caves.

"The findings from this new study suggest there might be higher plants and animals as well," Prof Cary explained. ...

"The next steps will be to take a closer look at the caves and search for living organisms. If they exist, it opens the door to an exciting new world," she explained.

There are a number of other volcanoes across Antarctica, the researchers pointed out, so sub-glacial cave systems could be common across the continent.

FULL STORY: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41202929
 

Bigphoot2

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Hot News from the Antarctic Underground
Antarctic-volcano-16.jpg

Illustration of flowing water under the Antarctic ice sheet. Blue dots indicate lakes, lines show rivers. Marie Byrd Land is part of the bulging "elbow" leading to the Antarctic Peninsula, left center. Credit: NSF/Zina Deretsky
› Larger view
Study Bolsters Theory of Heat Source Under West Antarctica

A new NASA study adds evidence that a geothermal heat source called a mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet. Although the heat source isn't a new or increasing threat to the West Antarctic ice sheet, it may help explain why the ice sheet collapsed rapidly in an earlier era of rapid climate change, and why it is so unstable today.

The stability of an ice sheet is closely related to how much water lubricates it from below, allowing glaciers to slide more easily. Understanding the sources and future of the meltwater under West Antarctica is important for estimating the rate at which ice may be lost to the ocean in the future.

Antarctica's bedrock is laced with rivers and lakes, the largest of which is the size of Lake Erie. Many lakes fill and drain rapidly, forcing the ice surface thousands of feet above them to rise and fall by as much as 20 feet (6 meters). The motion allows scientists to estimate where and how much water must exist at the base.

Some 30 years ago, a scientist at the University of Colorado Denver suggested that heat from a mantle plume under Marie Byrd Land might explain regional volcanic activity and a topographic dome feature. Very recent seismic imaging has supported this concept. When Hélène Seroussi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, first heard the idea, however, "I thought it was crazy," she said. "I didn't see how we could have that amount of heat and still have ice on top of it."
etc...

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6996
 
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