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Unless the South Pole melts, no one is ever going to see the Gamburtsev Mountain Range. The "Antarctic Alps" has been encased beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet for millions of years. Yet thanks to radar and other technologies, scientists have begun to peer through the ice. And in a new study, they've uncovered startling insights into how it formed.
Until now, researchers have assumed the vast majority of the ice that makes up ice sheets forms as snowflakes compact over millions of years. But that may not be the whole story, according to the first major finding from data gathered as part of a seven-nation project known as the Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province (AGAP).
AGAP's focus in the new study was on the so-called "Dome A" region of the Gamburtsev range, the high point of the East Antarctic sheet. To image the ice below the frigid surface, scientists used two Twin Otter aircraft equipped with ice-penetrating radars, laser ranging systems, gravity meters, and sensors that measure magnetic fields. The planes scanned the surface in north-south flights spaced 5 kilometers apart, crossing in east-west lines every 33 kilometers.
Previous studies have found temperatures below the ice sheet, caused by the warmth of the planet below, that could melt water. But scientists thought there was much less meltwater, playing a far less important role in ice sheet structure, than the new work suggests. According to the observations, massive ice blocks seem to form when liquid water—propelled by the pressure of the ice—moves up the steep walls of the Gamburtsev mountains, says lead author and glaciologist Robin Bell of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York. As the water rises, it encounters lower temperatures and less pressure from overlying ice, so it refreezes.
Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
It also seems like an incredibly dangerous place, so I don't think you'll be find the entrance to hollow earth or underground bases here the pressures working back and forth must be insane.