Monday, August 28, 2017

ANCIENT RIVER ONCE FLOWED BENEATH ANTARCTICA'S ICE


Iceberg
  Researchers at Rice university have discovered a long-dead river system that at one point flowed beneath Antarctica's ice and influenced how ice melts after the last ice age.
 On Antarctica, ice streams are wide corridors of noticeably fast ice flow within an ice sheet. However, even these ice streams only move at speeds no more than tens of metres per year. That means something else has or had been helping all this ice move along.
 Through a two-year analysis of sediment cores and precise seafloor maps covering about 7,000 square kilometres (2,700 square miles) of the western Ross Sea, Rice University researchers discovered that the ice sheets retreated hundreds of miles inland during a period of global warming after Earth's last ice age. Furthermore, ancient river systems and subglacial lakes that are now dead were found to have existed as well.
 Since human documentation of the geography of Antarctica only goes back decades, this could ultimately help other researchers better predict how today's ice streams will behave and how much they'll contribute to rising sea levels.
Read more about this fascinating story at: http://earthsky.org/earth/hidden-river-ross-sea-antarctica-ice-streams
Image Credit: robynm via Pixabay

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