For more than one hundred millennia, a vast section of water near Antarctica has not seen sunshine. Scientists claim that Climate Change resulted, at least in part, to a trillion-ton iceberg breaking off from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf. The iceberg is as big as the state of Delaware. But as the massive piece of broken ice moves away from the southern-most continent, it has revealed a huge section of water underneath that has been hidden from view for 120,000 years.
And now scientists are rushing to discover its secrets.
The iceberg first detached from Antarctica in July 2017. Now a research team of scientists is heading to the continent to find out what is under there.
Because the ecosystem has been under the continent’s ice shelf for so long, they are eager to discover what kind of life has evolved to survive beneath it.
The exposed bit of seabed stretches about 2,246 miles across, the British Antarctic Survey reported. They are leading the adventurous expedition to discover what is under the ice shelf.
This journey is considered “urgent” because sunlight could destroy whatever is already there. They want to get there and photograph the space before the sun’s rays change things, Fox News reports.
“The calving of (iceberg) A-68 (from the Larsen C Ice Shelf) provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change. It’s important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonize,” Katrin Linse from the BAS said in a statement.
Although scientists have yet to discover what was living under the Antarctic ice shelf, they are confident it is going to be groundbreaking. All they know was what they learned from similar calving events that happened in the last few decades. These occurred to Larsen A and B shelves which are north of Larsen C. These events occurred in 1995 and 2002.
The Germans led the expedition to those environments. But it took the teams five to twelve years to make it there. And by that time, they lost a lot of the original life that had been there as known species began to colonize, as Linse warned.
Antarctica is home to bizarre undersea creatures. One of the strangest found in recent years is the bristled marine worm. It lives in the frigid Southern Ocean. And as LiveScience reported, it resembles a “Christmas ornament from hell.”
The worm has an extendable throat that is layered in tiny pointed teeth. It truly is an alien from a nightmare.
The team will spend three weeks at sea as the ship, the RRS James Clark Ross, uses satellite technology to navigate to the remote area. It will be a treacherous journey for the brave explorers. When the team arrives, they will collect samples. These will include plant and animal life as well as the sediment from the sea floor.
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