7 Great Mysteries in Antarctica
Netgenz - Science | From the first exploration of Antarctica in the 1800s until now, we continue to be captivated by the phenomenon that is in this giant ice land. In addition to being a cold white continent, Antarctica holds many fascinating mysteries to solve.
The harsh conditions, freezing temperatures, and barren landscape make Antarctica inhospitable to humans. Besides that, there are also many strange natural events here. Here, we've rounded up some of Antarctica's finest mysteries and their narratives.
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Here are 7 Great Mysteries in Antarctica
1. Underground lake
It's hard to think of what could be beneath the thick ice sheets in Antarctica, but some researchers have discovered several subterranean lakes. Antarctica's underground lake was first discovered in 1970 using radar. Pawa researchers predict there are about 400 lakes that are under 3 km of ice.
Predictably, these lakes were created after the Antarctic split from Gondwanaland. This lake does not freeze as a result due to the pressure of the weight of the ice pack.
In 2014, researchers from Montana State University conducted a study on Lake Whillans and found a diverse and active ecosystem of microorganisms in the lake. This is an amazing species that hasn't been exposed to fresh wind or sunlight in millions of years. They use methane and ammonium as energy to grow.
2. Blood waterfall
Antarctic Blood Waterfall
In the McMurdo Dry Valley, a bright red waterfall pours from Taylor Glacier to Bonney Lake. This panorama looks like a spurt of blood on ice, and some researchers have found the trigger behind this mysterious event recently.
This red water was once a salt lake which is currently cut off due to the construction of a glacier above the lake. The water is preserved 400 meters. underground and getting saltier by the day, which is now 3x saltier than seawater and can't freeze.
This saltwater is high in iron content and has no oxygen or exposure to sunlight. When water that is high in iron comes out through the gaps in the glacier and comes into contact with the air, the iron content oxidizes and rusts, which makes the water red like blood. So based on the information on the Forbes site.
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3. The singing ice
Ross Ice Shelf
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice sheet in Antarctica with a thickness of several hundred meters. and the area reaches more than 500 thousand square km. In addition to its amazing size, this huge ice straight is mystical because it seems to sing a terrible melody.
According to the Live Science website, the sound that comes out of this huge ice line is caused by the wind blowing through the snow hills. These winds create surface vibrations and seismic sounds most of the time.
Furthermore, some researchers have found that the tracks of this ice differ in response to the environment, such as melting or storms that shift snow. Later researchers used the song as a tool to monitor ice formations in real-time, looking for stability, and their ability to collapse.
4. Ancient fossils and rainforests
Antarctica is an ancient area that has undergone amazing transformations over millions of years. Before it became a frozen dessert like it is today, Antarctica was once a warm area with rainforests and the possibility of civilization.
According to the Smithsonian's website, this theory developed after the discovery of fossilized wood, which suggested the presence of rainforests in Antarctica. Some researchers found a ton of fossils of marine animals, birds, and dinosaurs from the Cretaceous. Some researchers have found sperm cells that are estimated to be around fifty million years old. All of these findings are expected to help researchers generate new evolutionary information.
5. McMurdo Dry Valleys
McMurdo Dry Valleys
When it comes to desserts, many people think of hot, sandy lands. However, the truth is that Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. About 99% of the continent is covered with ice, but in the remaining 1%, there are dry valleys known as the McMurdo Dry Valleys which are divided into dunes. This has become an important website for some researchers.
The McMurdo Dry Valleys have weather similar to that of Mars, and some researchers believe this area may hold the secret of life on other planets. But, according to the Live Science website, the dune is moving at an alarming speed of 1.5 meters. /year. Some researchers believe this is due to weather shifts, when the atmosphere warms, ice melts and sand dunes disappear.
6. Ancient meteorite field
Ancient meteorite field
Antarctica is a gold garden for meteorites. Although meteorites can fall anywhere on Earth's surface, these outer space rocks are easier to find in Antarctica because the cold and dry conditions keep rock fragments at bay.
Its white and clean upper surface makes meteorites easier to identify. In addition, most of the rock found in Antarctica is space rock, simply because few rocks occur naturally in the Antarctic ice sheet.
Since 1976, more than 20 thousand examples of space meteorites have been collected. Quoted from the Live Science website, in 2013, a team of Japanese and Belgian researchers found the largest meteorite in East Antarctica with a weight of 18 kg. The team searched for meteorites for 40 days, finding 425 meteorites with a total weight of 75 kg.
7. Giant hole
A hole the size of Ireland was discovered in Antarctica in 2017. The 78,000 sq km hole is the largest hole seen since the 1970s.
This hole is called polynya and was found in the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean. According to the Gizmodo website, the polynya is created by warmer, saltier water found in the deeper parts of the ocean. Warm water pushed by ocean currents melts the ice above.
Researchers don't really believe why the polynya was made, but it's possible that some marine mammals used these holes to breathe. However, some researchers are still trying to understand the effects of this mysterious giant hole.
Antarctica as a breeding ground is mystical and has many conspiracy theories throughout the year. There are many other mysteries in Antarctica, including long-standing legends. Hopefully, all the mysteries in Antarctica can be unraveled one by one by science so as not to arouse curiosity or give rise to conspiracy theories.