Scientists have discovered a hidden marine thriving 500 meters below Antarctic sea ice. New Zealand scientists found small shrimp-like creatures and discovered a river at the bottom of a cavernous space under the ice. The discovery was made hundreds of miles from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and the river is thought to be an estuary to the sea.
The fascinating discovery was made by researchers from the universities of Wellington, Auckland and Otago, the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric (Niwa) and Geological and Nuclear Sciences who were investigating the estuary’s role in climate-induced sea ice melt.
After scientists drilled 500 meters below the ice and into the river in Antarctica, their camera was invaded by amphipods, small creatures of the same lineage as lobsters, crabs and mites.
“For a moment we thought something was wrong with the camera, but when the focus improved we noticed a swarm of arthropods about 5mm in size,” Craig said. Stevens from the Niwa organization to the Guardian.
“We experimented in other parts of the ice shelf and thought we had it under control, but this time around some big surprises happened,” he said.
“We were jumping for joy because all these animals swimming around our gear means there is clearly an important ecosystem there,” he added.
Stevens said they took water samples to the lab to look at DNA and other properties of the water “to see what makes it unique, because we were observing something that you don’t see. in other nearby systems”.
Scientists have long believed that there may be rivers and lakes hidden under Antarctica’s ice, but this has never been studied before.
Antarctica is divided into East and West Antarctica, with the Trans-Antarctic Mountain Range separating the two halves. In western Antarctica, the ice is more unstable than in the east, so melting ice and collapsing ice shelves are often observed.
(With agency contributions)
#Scientists #Discover #Thriving #Hidden #Marine #Life #Meters #Antarctic #Ice
Post expires at 8:50am on Sunday June 19th, 2022