Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




ICE WORLD
New map reveals giant fjords beneath East Antarctic ice sheet
by Staff Writers
Austin TX (SPX) Jun 07, 2011


New topographic map of the bedrock below a portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, including the Aurora Subglacial Basin which lies more than a kilometer below sea level in some places.

Scientists from the U.S., U.K. and Australia have used ice-penetrating radar to create the first high- resolution topographic map of one of the last uncharted regions of Earth, the Aurora Subglacial Basin, an immense ice-buried lowland in East Antarctica larger than Texas.

The map reveals some of the largest fjords or ice cut channels on Earth, providing important insights into the history of ice in Antarctica. The data will also help computer modelers improve their simulations of the past and future Antarctic ice sheet and its potential impact on global sea level.

"We knew almost nothing about what was going on, or could go on, under this part of the ice sheet and now we've opened it up and made it real," said Duncan Young, research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics and lead author on the study, which appears in this week's journal Nature.

"We chose to focus on the Aurora Subglacial Basin because it may represent the weak underbelly of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, the largest remaining body of ice and potential source of sea-level rise on Earth," said Donald Blankenship, principal investigator for the ICECAP project, a multinational collaboration using airborne geophysical instruments to study the ice sheet.

Because the basin lies kilometers below sea level, seawater could penetrate beneath the ice, causing portions of the ice sheet to collapse and float off to sea. Indeed, this work shows that the ice sheet has been significantly smaller in the past.

Previous work based on ocean sediments and computer models indicates the East Antarctic Ice Sheet grew and shrank widely and frequently, from about 34 to 14 million years ago, causing sea level to fluctuate by 200 feet . Since then, it has been comparatively stable, causing sea-level fluctuations of less that 50 feet.

The new map reveals vast channels cut through mountain ranges by ancient glaciers that mark the edge of the ice sheet at different times in the past, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from its current edge.

"We're seeing what the ice sheet looked like at a time when Earth was much warmer than today," said Young. "Back then it was very dynamic, with significant surface melting. Recently, the ice sheet has been better behaved."

However, recent lowering of major glaciers near the edge detected by satellites has raised concerns about this sector of Antarctica.

Young said past configurations of the ice sheet give a sense of how it might look in the future, although he doesn't foresee it shrinking as dramatically in the next 100 years. Still, even a small change in this massive ice sheet could have a significant effect on sea level.

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and at Australia's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC are developing models that will use the new map to forecast how the ice sheet will evolve in the future and how it might affect sea level.

This research is part of ICECAP (Investigating the Cryospheric Evolution of the Central Antarctic Plate), a joint project of The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Edinburgh and the Australian Antarctic Division.

For three field seasons, the team flew an upgraded World War II-era DC-3 aircraft with a suite of geophysical instruments to study the ice and underlying rock in East Antarctica.

.


Related Links
University of Texas at Austin
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Radar reveals secrets of Antarctic ice
Austin, Texas (UPI) Jun 1, 2011
Ice-penetrating radar has revealed one of the last uncharted regions of Earth, an ice-buried lowland in East Antarctica larger than Texas, researchers say. The map, created by U.S., U.K. and Australian researchers, reveals some of the largest fjords, or ice-cut channels, on Earth, providing important insights into the history of ice in Antarctica. "We knew almost nothing about wh ... read more


ICE WORLD
The Power of A Moon Rock

Looking at the volatile side of the Moon

Parts of moon interior as wet as Earth's upper mantle

NASA-Funded Scientists Make Watershed Lunar Discovery

ICE WORLD
Opportunity Studies Rock Outcrop

A Salute to the Spirit of Mars

One year in isolation

Opportunity Passes Small Crater and Big Milestone

ICE WORLD
FOGE Reaches 10

Testing Spacesuits in Antarctica - part 3

Five Steps Toward Future Exploration

China's growth, and weakness, on show at IT fair

ICE WORLD
Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

China's Fengyun-3B satellite goes into official operation

Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets

ICE WORLD
Soyuz heads to ISS carrying Russian, US, Japanese astronauts

New Crew Members Prepare for Launch

ATV-2 adjusts ISS orbit; ext TMA Soyuz assembled

Science and Maintenance for Station Crew

ICE WORLD
Shipments Of Sea Launch Zenit-3Sl Hardware Resume On Schedule

US Army supports student launch program

Boeing Opens Exploration Launch Systems Office in Florida

Payload processing underway for ASTRA 1N

ICE WORLD
Rage Against the Dying of the Light

Second Rocky World Makes Kepler-10 a Multi-Planet System

Kepler's Astounding Haul of Multiple-Planet Systems Just Keeps Growing

Bennett team discovers new class of extrasolar planets

ICE WORLD
Phase Change Memory-Based Moneta System Points to the Future of Computer Storage

Thomas Edison also invented the concrete house

3-D model mimics volcanic explosions

This is what the margins of the Ebro looked like 6 million years ago




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement