A puzzling heat source is melting East Antarctica from below
A puzzling heat source – twice the size of London – is causing the base of the Antarctic ice sheet to melt. Scientists are not quite sure what they are dealing with. Preliminary hypotheses say it’s radioactive rocks combined with geothermal sources.
New research using innovative systemsoin radar suggest there is a large source ofogeothermal heat source under Antarctic ice, ktore which, until now, no one has observed.
It seems that lod in areas of eastern Antarctica melt from below. This was demonstrated by radar readings taken from an aircraft flying over the frozen continent. According to the results of penetrating radar lod, an area twice the size of London, under ktorym observed sourceodło of heat, collapsed.
The findings of an international team of scientistsow were published in the journal „Scientific Reports”.
Data on whichohe researchers noticed the anomalies were collected as part of the PolarGAP project. This international project funded by the European Space Agency brought together scientistsoIn the Norwegian, Danish and British. Its goal was to fill a gap in satellite data on the gravitational field wokoł south pole.
By the way, experts have collected radar data revealing the thickness, structure and conditions at the base of the ice sheet, and have noticed sizable amounts of meltwater in eastern areas of Antarctica. Researchers stress that it is not related to a warming climate.
– The observed process has probably been going on for thousands, perhaps even a millionoin years and does not directly contribute to changes in the ice sheet. However, in the future, the extra water under the ice sheet could make the region more vulnerable to external factors such as climate change – said study leader Dr. Tom Jordan of the British Antarctic Survey.
Scientists are not quite sure what exactly is the source of theodłem ciepła. They believe it is a combination of radioactive rocks and hot water extracted deep from the Earth’s interior. The heat melts the ice cap from below, and the melted water flows under the ice cap.
Antarctica lies on the oldest part of the Earth’s crust, scientists say – so-called. craton. The craton should not let heat from the Earth’s interior pass through, yet it does not. Scientists believe that there must be a sizable gap in the layer, whichothe water heated by magma travels along it.
– The results of the study were quite unexpected. This is an example of how a project originally conceived to enhance satellite data for the European Space Agency can yield completely unexpected scientific results – said Dr. René Forsberg of Denmark’s Technical University, wsporouter of publications.
This puzzling source ofoThe heat source is interesting in itself, but scientists indicate that it is a particularolnie important because it can affect measurements used in studies of the consequences of melting ice caps. „East Antarctica is particularlyolnteresting area. As models suggest, it may contain the oldest lod on the planet by preserving records of important climatic events” – wrote the authors of the publication.
Melting at the base of the Antarctic ice sheet affects ice dynamics and researchers’ ability to read the recordoin climatology from ice cores. Probki from ice cores researchers use to understand howob the planet‘s atmosphere has changed over thousands of years. Each layer of ice is something like a record of the planet’s air from a period in which theorym formed.