A source of radioactive heat, which from the heart of the Earth contributes to the dissolution of ice, was discovered under the name of Antarctic. It is close to the southern magnetic pole and in the future it could accelerate the melting of the frozen mass in that area by the water that accumulates at the base of the glacier. This was identified after surveys conducted with the British Antarctic Antarctic (Bas) radar, the British organization that investigates Antarctica and published its findings in the Scientific Reports.
"The discovery confirms that Antarctic ice dissolution also suffers from local effects such as radioactive sources or volcanoes because it is an ice-covered continent, unlike the Arctic, an ocean that freezes and suffers only the general effects of climate warming, ANCA Antonio Meloni, president of the National Antarctic Scientific Commission of Italy, told ANSA.
Under the Antarctic ice, the remains of old lost continents are hidden, according to the European satellite Goce, who, from 2009 to 2013, studied the gravity of the Earth. There are at least three fragments, previously united in Africa, Australia and India, the oldest with an estimated age between 1,000,000,000 and 550,000,000 years.
Published in Scientific Reports, the discovery is due to the German University of Kiel and the British Antarctic Study (Bas). The researchers analyzed data from the European Space Agency mission (ESA), which measured the subtle differences in severity from one point to another on Earth with a resolution of 80 kilometers and compared it with the evolution of seismic waves, which allows you scan the interior of the planet. In this way, they have obtained a 3D map of continental plates that have opened a window in the depths of the earth and, in particular, in Antarctica.
These images of gravity "revolutionize our ability to study the less known continent, Antarctica," said Fausto Ferraccioli, responsible for Bas's geological and geophysical research. Under the Eastern Antic, he added, "we see an interesting mosaic of fragments of lost continents," which reveals similarities and differences between the crust beneath the Antarctic and the other continents, "to which the fragments of 160 million years ago . for years ".
It has also been discovered that Western Antarctica has a thinner crust with a thickness of 20 and 35 kilometers, compared to the Eastern Antarctic, consisting of ancient continental relics between 40 and 60 kilometers thick, separated by several youths . The remnants are at least three, and the oldest are the fragment linked to the so-called Crater Mawson, which in the past contained parts of South Australia and the vestige hidden under the land of Queen Maud. The two fragments are separated from the Gamburtsev mountain area, buried under ice.
The origin of the third fragment, located between the Great Weddell and the South Pole, is unclear. Three fragments appeared from the Goce data and, according to the researchers, "represent a new important element for the study of Antarctica."