According to a recent study, something strange and very hot is taking place beneath Antarctica. The Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole presents a “hotspot” underneath it, puzzling the scientists. Luckily, as reported in the journal Scientific Reports, the event is unlikely to melt down the ice layer that covers Antarctica, at least not soon.
But, as the scientists reported, the extreme heat caused a 100-by-50 kilometer area of the ice layers in that region of Antarctica to sag and drooped downward.
“This was a really exciting project, exploring one of the last totally un-surveyed regions on our planet. Our results were quite unexpected, as many people thought this region of Antarctica was made of ancient and cold rocks, which had little impact on the ice sheet above. We show that even in the ancient continental interior, the underlying geology can have a significant impact on the ice,” explained the study’s leading author Dr. Tom Jordan from the British Antarctic Survey in a statement.
An Unusual And Very Hot Phenomenon Happens Beneath Antarctica
The researchers could not know for sure for how long the mysterious “hotspot” has been beneath Antarctica, but they estimated that is has formed about 4,000 thousand years ago. Also, since climate change affects Antarctica causing the temperatures to rise, the Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole is more exposed to ice sheet meltdown in comparison with other areas of the ancient continent.
“In the future, the extra water at the ice sheet bed may make this region more sensitive to external factors such as climate change,” said Dr. Jordan.
To reach these conclusions, the British Antarctic Survey team used radar data collected from an aircraft to peer through 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of ice, which gave them the opportunity to study thickness, structure, and conditions of the ice sheet and its layers, and to observe the unusual and very hot event that happens beneath Antarctica.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.