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Hidden at 3,500 meters below sea level, this inhospitable area was identified in a new map of the “white continent” drawn up with a detail never seen before.
In eastern Antarctica , under the Denman Glacier , a group of scientists have found the land point located at a depth never recorded . It is 3.5 km below sea level and thus becomes the deepest place on Earth not covered by water.
It is the bottom of a 20 km wide frozen canyon whose maximum depth far exceeds the lowest exposed land on Earth, located on the Dead Sea coast and only 413 meters below sea level.
This discovery was made thanks to the new map of Antarctica called BedMachine Antarctic (“the Antarctic bottom machine”), which clearly shows the rock beneath the ice sheet. It was also published in the journal Nature last Thursday.
“This is undoubtedly the most accurate portrait so far of what lies beneath the Antarctic ice sheet,” said Mathieu Morlighem, a professor in the Department of Terrestrial Systems Science at the University of California Irvine.
A hidden place of radar
In the previous decades, the radars that monitored the “white continent” could not obtain information on these mysterious areas.
“There have been many attempts to probe the Denman bed , but every time they flew over the canyon, they failed to see it on radar data,” Morlighem explained.
Therefore, the researcher resorted to the principles of physics: with the information of the ice entering the valley and how fast it moves, he calculated the volume of the icy mass to get an idea of the depth and roughness of the bottom.
In this way, he calculated that in the Denman glacier the ice reaches more than 3500 meters below sea level.
“The trenches in the oceans are deeper, but this is the deepest canyon on the mainland,” said the researcher.
The only places that are at similar depths are in the oceans. In fact, the deepest point on Earth is in the Mariana Trench , in the western Pacific, 11 km below sea level.
Morlighem was working on this project for 6 years, until he finally revealed the characteristics of this valley that will be of utmost importance to understand how the South Pole could change in the future due to global warming .
The map also reveals that glaciers along the eastern plateau of the continent are found along the Transantactic mountains . These have ice ridges below.
It is estimated that the ridges function as stabilizers that protect the ice that runs through the mountains. This means that, given a significant increase in global warming, these formations will not allow glaciers in the eastern layer to recede.
However, the situation on the Thwaites glacier, the size of the United Kingdom, is very different: it is tilted in the direction of the surface and there are only two ridges that could serve as possible brakes for its recoil.
This new map will be used to project how Antarctica could evolve in the face of rising temperatures on Earth .
NASA makes alarming study: Greenland melts seven times faster than before
A joint investigation by NASA and the European Space Agency ( ESA ) determines that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet continues to accelerate to the point of melting seven times faster than in the 1990s , despite the alleged efforts of the powers to stop global warming .
In addition, they have identified the great impact of this phenomenon on sea level rise.
According to the study , published last Tuesday in Nature , between 1992 and 2018, it has already lost 3.8 billion tons of ice. The research combined 26 satellite data sets and managed to predict that the sea level will have an approximate global increase of 7 to 13 centimeters by 2100 .
This is the worst scenario that had been projected on the island’s thaw, and the consequences would begin to be seen in the coming years.
Thaw due to climate change disperses a deadly virus in the Atlantic and Pacific waters
The climate change is causing snowmelt in certain areas such as the Arctic , as well as generated habitat loss affecting mainly the native fauna.
However, there is an invisible secondary consequence of the increase in the Earth’s temperature and the rise in the level of the tides that is annihilating marine species.
Likewise, the Arctic thaw generated new ways for subarctic and Arctic animals to interact, precisely that relationship has triggered a life-threatening virus for mammals in the North Pacific Ocean, according to a report recently published in the journal Scientific Reports .
Source: La Republica