Home FEATURES Revealing An Ancient River Landscape Beneath The East Antarctic Ice Sheet: A Remarkable Discovery By Scientists

Revealing An Ancient River Landscape Beneath The East Antarctic Ice Sheet: A Remarkable Discovery By Scientists

by InlandTown Editor
0 comment

Global warming may unveil a million-year-old river landscape under East Antarctic Ice Sheet, per recent study.

Ancient landscape, unaffected by major ice retreat, might change with projected climate warming, per Tuesday’s Nature Communications.

Antarctica had ice for 34 million years. Before, it had a climate like modern-day Patagonia, according to study author Stewart Jamieson from Durham University, UK. There is evidence that at one point, there was tropical vegetation, including palm trees, in Antarctica, Jamieson told ABC News.

Recently, scientists found a vast river-carved landscape in Antarctica’s Aurora-Schmidt basins, inland of the Denman and Totten glaciers. River ran 34-60 million years ago, as continents split from Antarctica, says Jamieson.

Using satellites and ice-penetrating radar, scientists discovered a landscape buried under the ice shelf for 14 to 34 million years.

Before this technique, researchers used radar-equipped planes to study the landscape under the ice sheet. However, due to limitations in flight paths, there were significant gaps in data coverage, explained Jamieson.

The landscape comprises three river-carved upland blocks with deep troughs, located about 217 miles from the ice sheet edge, as per the study. These blocks formed before glaciation when rivers flowed to a coastline created during the Gondwana supercontinent breakup.

As Antarctica began to cool slightly, small glaciers grew in the river valleys, Jamieson said.

A cooling event led to the expansion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, covering the continent and burying the river landscape, Jamieson explained

Jamieson likened it to turning on a freezer, which effectively preserves the landscape in time.

The Gondwana breakup created valleys between the upland blocks before they were glaciated, according to the researchers.

The findings suggest that ice over the region then remained largely stable over millions of years, despite intervening warm periods. Jamieson stated that researchers plan to gather sediment and rock samples for insights into the past river’s vegetation and ecosystem.

Climate warming could cause ice to retreat in this region for the first time in at least 14 million years, as per the study.

Western Antarctica, notably the “Doomsday Glacier,” has seen the most melting, potentially raising sea levels by 10 feet. In contrast, the east Antarctic ice shelf holds enough ice to cause nearly 200 feet of sea level rise, as per the study.

Even with the most ambitious efforts, preventing significant melting in West Antarctica may be too late, as per a recent study.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More