Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Climate Change Is Thawing an Ancient Antarctic River

A frozen river with an age of approximately 14 million years, untouched by change for millennia, may now face the prospect of thawing due to the impacts of climate change. This revelation emerges from a recent study conducted during the ICECAP data collection project in Antarctica, depicted in the left and right images, with the central image illustrating the potential appearance of Antarctica’s landscape without its icy covering, as envisioned by Stewart Jamieson. Climate Change Is Thawing an Ancient Antarctic River.

Antarctica, contrary to its current desolate icy state, once hosted vibrant rivers and forests teeming with life. This expansive landscape, rivaling the size of Belgium, has remained preserved for over 34 million years. However, a team of British and American researchers has issued a warning that human-induced global warming poses a significant threat to its continued preservation.

Chilling Revelations: Ancient Landscape Discovered Beneath East Antarctic Ice Sheet

A remarkable discovery underpins these concerns, as an ancient river-carved landscape hidden beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is described in a publication in Nature Communications. This untouched landscape, undisturbed by continental-scale ice retreat, has persevered for at least 14 million years. Yet, the authors of the study caution that this might change in the face of projected climate warming.

Climate Change Is Thawing an Ancient Antarctic River

Leading the research effort, Durham University in the UK employed satellite data and radio-echo-sounding techniques to chart an expansive 32,000 square kilometer region concealed beneath the colossal ice sheet. Professor Stewart Jamieson, a glaciology expert at Durham University and co-leader of the study, describes this discovery as a window into the past, likening the landscape to a snapshot of ancient times.

Antarctica’s lost world: Ancient landscape formed by rivers revealed deep under Antarctic ice

Notably, the land beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet remains less explored than the surface of Mars, according to Jamieson. The primary method to unveil its secrets involves aircraft sending radio waves into the ice and analyzing the resulting echoes, a method known as radio-echo sounding. The rapid changes occurring in Earth’s climate are steering it toward temperatures characteristic of a distant era, approximately 34 to 14 million years ago, with temperatures 3 to 7 degrees Celsius higher than those observed today.

Scientists discover hidden landscape ‘frozen in time’ under Antarctic ice

Understanding how the Antarctic Ice Sheet evolved in the past is instrumental in predicting its future behavior in the context of ongoing climate change. The researchers uncovered a landscape that seemingly formed through river activity at least 14 million years ago, and possibly even earlier, predating the initial growth of the East Antarctic ice around 34 million years ago.

Professor Jamieson postulates that such an environment likely played host to diverse wildlife, even though the region’s fossil record remains too incomplete to provide specific insights into the resident species. To bridge this gap, the researchers utilized existing satellite images to trace out the valleys and ridges hidden more than 1.6 miles beneath the ice. The undulating ice surface conceals these distinct features like a “ghost image,” as Jamieson elucidates.

PPP to Discuss Nawaz Concessions at CEC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *