Scientists Found the Deepest Land on Earth Hiding Beneath Antarctica's Ice

Scientists Found the Deepest Land on Earth Hiding Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

by Rafi Letzter, LiveScience

A new mapping effort revealed critical new details of Antarctica’s hidden land.

A new map of the mountains, valleys and canyons hidden under Antarctica’s ice has revealed the deepest land on Earth, and will help forecast future ice loss.

The frozen southern continent can look pretty flat and featureless from above. But beneath the ice pack that’s accumulated over the eons, there’s an ancient continent, as textured as any other. And that texture turns out to be very important for predicting how and when ice will flow and which regions of ice are most vulnerable in a warming world. The new NASA map, called BedMachine Antarctica, mixes ice movement measurements, seismic measurements, radar and other data points to create the most detailed picture yet of Antarctica’s hidden features.

“Using BedMachine to zoom into particular sectors of Antarctica, you find essential details, such as bumps and hollows beneath the ice that may accelerate, slow down or even stop the retreat of glaciers,” Mathieu Morlighem, an Earth system scientist at the University of California, Irvine and the lead author of a new paper about the map, said in a statement.

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