Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New South Pole Map Shows A Hidden World Revealed Exposing Contours And Deep Troughs Within the Interior of an 'Ice-Free' Antarctica You've Always Imagined Existed From Campfire Stories Told By Natives & Scientists Alike

""Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey have published the most detailed map yet of what Antarctica’s landscape would look like without its thick covering of ice, showing that large portions of the frozen continent actually rest on the sea bed rather than on land. Using data collected by aerial flights, satellite technology, and research ships over 50 years, British researchers were able to illustrate mountain peaks that are the size of the European Alps but are hidden below thousands of feet of ice. Less than 1 percent of the continent’s rock base is currently visible above the ice, which is three miles thick in places.""

""Scientists have produced the most detailed map yet of the White Continent's underbelly - its rock bed.

Called simply BEDMAP, this startling view of the landscape beneath the ice incorporates decades of survey data acquired by planes, satellites, ships and even people on dog-drawn sleds.

It is remarkable to think that less than 1% of this rock base projects above the continent's frozen veil.

In the map at the top of this page, the highest elevations are marked in red/black. The light blue colour shows the extent of the continental shelf.

The lowest elevations are dark blue. You will note the deep troughs within the interior of the continent that are far below today's sea level.

The map is a fascinating perspective but it is more than just a pretty picture - it represents critical knowledge in the quest to understand how Antarctica might respond to a warming world.

Scientists are currently reporting significant changes at the margins of the continent, with increasing volumes of ice now being lost to the ocean, raising global sea levels. The type of information contained in BEDMAP will help researchers forecast the pace of future events.

"This is information that underpins the models we now use to work out how the ice flows across the continent," explained Hamish Pritchard from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

"The Antarctic ice sheet is constantly supplied by falling snow, and the ice flows down to the coast where great bergs calve into the ocean or it melts. It's a big, slow-speed hydrological cycle.

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