Hills and valleys hidden under the Antarctic ice

2023-11-10 2023-11-10T09:57:27Z
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Arabia Weather - British and American scientists found vast areas of green hills and valleys hidden under the ice of Antarctica, according to the latest studies. Although the researchers who made this discovery believe that these landscapes may have remained unchanged for millions of years, they warned that the melting of ice due to climate warming may lead to them losing their protective snow cover.

Hills and valleys hidden under the Antarctic ice

The lead author of the study, Stuart Jamieson from Britain's Durham University, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, noted that this natural landscape is "a landscape that has never been discovered and has never been seen before."

In this discovery, the researchers relied on a new methodology without the need for new data, but rather simply relied on a different observational technique to explore this unknown land under the East Antarctic ice sheet.

This required sending radio waves into the ice sheet and using an aircraft to fly over it, allowing the signals to be analyzed, known as radioacoustic scanning.

The waves found a landscape of valleys and hills beneath the ice

However, implementing this process on the scale of Antarctica, which is larger than Europe, is a very difficult challenge. Stuart Jamieson explained that the researchers used available satellite images of the Earth's surface to "draw a map of valleys and hills" at a depth exceeding two kilometers.

By combining this data with ultrasound radio survey data, a picture was created of a river-dotted landscape consisting of deep valleys and steep-peaked hills, similar to those found today on the Earth's surface.

The glaciologist compared the view resulting from the study to that which a person can see from the window of an airplane as it passes over a mountainous area, and compared it to the Snowdonia region in North Wales.

The study shows that this vast area, extending over an area of 32,000 square kilometers, once contained forests and was likely a habitat for animals, before it was covered by ice and frozen by time.

Although it is difficult to determine the exact time when this region was last exposed to sunlight, estimates indicate that this happened at least 14 million years ago. However, Professor Jamieson's 'hunch' shows that it could go back more than 34 million years, when Antarctica began to freeze over.

Researchers have previously discovered a city-sized lake under the ice of Antarctica, and the authors of this study are looking forward to discovering more exciting landscapes.

However, climate warming may threaten their latest discovery. However, the location of the landscape they discovered - miles from the edge of the ice sheet - may protect it from future exposure, however.

The other reassuring aspect is that this hidden world was not affected by the retreat of ice during ancient periods of warming, such as the Pliocene period, which extends 3 to 4.5 million years ago.

However, it remains not yet known, according to Professor Jamieson, what the climatic 'tipping point' might be that would result in unstable ice melting.

A study also warned that the melting of the ice sheet in neighboring West Antarctica may accelerate significantly in the coming decades, even if the world adheres to its commitments to limit climate warming.

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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