Antarctica is the most poorly studied mainland ona planet for which several records are secured at once. So, it is in Antarctica that the strongest winds on the planet blow, it was there that the lowest temperature was recorded - 89 degrees below zero, and it is in this place that the largest crater on Earth is located. Despite the fact that the surface of the record-breaking mainland was covered with ice and snow for several million years, scientists were able to show the appearance of the blooming Antarctica of the past.
What is under the ice of Antarctica?
Antarctic ice sheet is so heavy thatthe surface of the coldest continent on the planet bent almost 500 meters under the weight of ice and snow. Still: the ice sheet of Antarctica stores up to 90% of all the ice on Earth! Nowadays, the coldest mainland of the planet begins to gradually reveal its secrets to the world: as a result of global warming, its surface is gradually exposed, revealing to the world unexplored and mysterious territories.
One of the most interesting discoveries wasdiscovery of the valley under Bird Glacier. Currently, the valley is considered the deepest point located inside the continent, as a unique place is located at a depth of 2780 meters.
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Lake Vostok, located near the eponymousAntarctic station, currently located under an ice thickness of 4000 meters. Scientists believe that despite the gigantic pressure of water in the lake, which is approximately equal to 300 atmospheres, organisms endowed with truly unique properties can live in this pond. Due to the fact that Lake Vostok has been isolated from the outside world for many millions of years, the local fauna can radically differ from the already studied one.
What did Antarctica look like in the past?
Despite the fact that Antarctica is currentlyalmost completely represents an icy desert, the climate on the mainland has not always been like that. The fact is that Antarctica was once part of the giant mainland of Gondwana, which has a warm and humid climate. Antarctica of the past was covered with rain forests, although even then in its southern part it was sometimes quite cold and occasionally even snow fell. The Mesozoic fauna was also well represented as some dinosaurs, ancient birds and mammals. So, one of the first finds of the Antarctic dinosaurs was the cryolophosaurus, whose length reached 8 meters. In order to extract the remains of an ancient monster from many kilometers of ice, the researchers had to first blow up the frozen dinosaur with dynamite, and only after that collect the scattered parts of the cryolophosaurus on the mountain slopes.
What happens if the ice of Antarctica melts?
Researchers believe that if allice concentrated in Antarctica will completely melt, sea level on our planet will rise by about 60 meters. As a result of such a cataclysm, many large cities risk entering under water, including London, New York, St. Petersburg and Sydney. In addition, part of the coastal European countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, will also go under water. Antarctica itself will suffer significant territorial losses: the western part of the continent will turn into an archipelago with many islands, forming a completely new map of the ancient mainland.
According to official data, on the Antarcticthe peninsula is already marked by the appearance of the tundra zone. Scientists believe that due to an increase in the average temperature on the planet, trees will soon begin to grow on the mainland, and the number of representatives of the animal world will only increase every day.