Antarctica’s hidden mountains revealed
Antarctica has been covered with ice for thousands of years and yet it is now that for the first time we can see just how the mountain range under layers of ice looks thanks to the impressive work of the British Antarctic Survey.
Ten years ago a bed map was created by Charles Webb of NASA’s Cryosphere Science Research, which was based only on ground based measurements and therefore it was limited in terms of how much land it could cover. Furthermore, in the past we had the intriguing Piri Reis Map also showing what lies beneath the ice of Antarctica but in a very inaccurate way – even though that Piri Reis Map may be the result of a civilization far in the past when Antarctica wasn’t covered in ice as a few researchers suggest.
Scientists of the British Antarctic Survey in collaboration with international institutes have managed to create a detailed map showing the mountain ranges, valleys and plains in a never before seen way revealing many more details. The map was created using a variety of different techniques including echo sounds, seismic techniques as well as cartographic data and satellite readings.
The goal of the project as Dr Hamish Pritchard says was not just to make a more detailed map of the Antarctica landscape but to be able to measure the thickness of the ice and the overall shape of the landscape so as to model the behaviour of the ice. It is hoped that this will provide important information about the melting of the ice in Antarctica and the rising sea levels. Especially if you think that the research has shown that the potential global sea level rise from Antarctica is 58 meters – which would devastate most of the major cities all over the World.
By John Black