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




ICE WORLD
Scientists find Grand Canyon-sized rift under Antarctic ice
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 26, 2012


Scientists have discovered a rift the size of the Grand Canyon hidden under the Antarctic ice sheet, which they say is contributing to ice melt and a consequent rise in the sea level.

The rift, some 1.5 kilometres (one mile) deep, 10 kilometres wide and 100 kilometres long, was found by researchers using radar to measure the subglacial topography, glaciologist Robert Bingham told AFP.

"If you imagine the Grand Canyon but filled with ice and then even that whole feature is then also uniformly beneath another kilometre of ice," is how he described the feature whose magnitude he said was a "surprise" to the team.

Scientist believe a shrinking West Antarctic Ice Sheet is responsible for about 10 percent of climate-change-induced sea level rise, which if unchecked threatens to flood many coastal cities within a few generations.

The sheet, a huge mass of ice up to four kilometres thick that covers the land surface and stretches into the sea, is melting faster than any other part of Antarctica.

But scientists' sketchy knowledge of the sub-surface topography has made it difficult to predict the exact rate and extent of ice sheet loss, said the study published in Nature.

The newly discovered valley, formed long before the region was covered by ice, is believed to be part of a wider West Antarctic rift system, "which we've known exists but we don't know where it goes," said Bingham.

"We are now getting a better idea that parts of this rift system actually go ... further west than we previously knew about."

The type of rift found under the Ferrigno Ice Stream is caused when a continental plate starts to tear apart -- like the large lakes that fill rift systems in parts of East Africa today.

"It is the shape of the rift that contributes to the fact that the region is vulnerable to ice melt," Bingham explained of the Antarctic discovery.

"Because the rift is there it means that the ice is both deeper and slopes inland as you move away from the sea and both of those conditions make this a vulnerable topography to ice thinning effects" by allowing warm sea water to flow inland along a trough created by the rift to attack the ice on the coastline.

Bingham said the find showed that not only modern climate factors but also geology is contributing to ice loss.

"I think where it changes our view just ever so slightly is that this issue is traditionally conceptualised as a modern effect of global warming, and what we see is that that modern effect is actually superimposed on a very ancient geological evolution.

"It helps us to appreciate that the whole process is something that occurs over many cycles of time."

Scientists had only visited the region once before, over 50 years ago, in 1961.

This time, experts from the University of Aberdeen and the British Antarctic Survey conducted three months of fieldwork in 2010.

"We targeted the area because we knew from satellite measurements that there was ice thinning taking place," said Bingham.

"When we did the survey and we found this rift, that actually was a surprise that it was much, much deeper and preconditioned to this thinning than we expected."

The only way to find such a valley covered by an ice sheet is by using radar on the spot, he added.

.


Related Links
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
The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Jul 18, 2012
A century ago, the South Pole was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the Antarctic is under threat from human activity. Led by Monash University's Professor Steven Chown, a multidisciplinary team of experts from around the globe has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published in Science. The team analysed the effective ... read more


ICE WORLD
Another Small Step for Mankind

Russia starts building Moon spaceship, eyes Lunar base

Plans to revisit Moon impeded by financial difficulties

Russia says no manned moon shots till 2018

ICE WORLD
Mystery of missing Mars signals solved

Slow-Going at Cape York for Opportunity

ExoMars program gathers strength

Opportunity Runs the First Martian Marathon

ICE WORLD
XCOR Releases Payload Users Guide for Lynx Suborbital Vehicle

NASA Offers Condolences on the Passing of Pioneering Astronaut Sally Ride

Sally Ride, first US woman in space dead at 61

America Invents Act is a game changer

ICE WORLD
Looking Forward to Shenzhou 10

Argentina, China ink space cooperation deal

Looking Forward to Shenzhou 10

Astronauts in good shape after return

ICE WORLD
White Stork Delivers New Research and Technology Investigations to ISS

Russian cargo ship fails to dock at ISS: NASA

Russian cargo ship fails to dock at ISS during tests

Japanese Rocket Sends Cargo to ISS

ICE WORLD
Initial build-up is underway for Arianespace's fifth Ariane 5 launch in 2012

U.S. Bank Helps Fuel Future Space Flight as Bank behind SpaceX

HYLAS 2 and Intelsat 20 are prepared for Arianespace's next Ariane 5 mission

Degradation Free Spectrometers Sounding Rocket

ICE WORLD
UCF Discovers Exoplanet Neighbor

Can Astronomers Detect Exoplanet Oceans

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Dust

Study in Nature sheds new light on planet formation

ICE WORLD
Google unveils ultrafast wired home project

Stone Age tools help to streamline modern manufacturing

Headwall's Hyperspectral Sensors Set to Lift Off with NT Space

Cassidian announces passive radar system




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