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AGAP S

Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province Project (AGAP)

 
 

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Scientists discover that refreezing of liquid water at the base of the ice sheet is widespread, adding thickness & modifing ice sheet structure!

Data collected as part of the AGAP project has led to the discovery that liquid water locked deep under the continent’s coat of ice regularly thaws and refreezes to the bottom, creating as much as half the thickness of the ice in places, and actively modifying its structure.  This finding, turns common perceptions of glacial formation completely upside down. Ice sheets are well known to grow from the top as snow falls and builds up annual layers over thousands of years. This newly discovered process occurring far below the ice surface could reshape our understanding of how the ice sheet expands and moves, and how it might react to a warming climate.

Abstract or Reprint (pdf)

 

 These short video clips demonstrate the type of process that the AGAP science team has uncovered.  

Antarctic Research: Peering Through The Ice

In the dead of winter 2008, when most of us wouldn't consider traveling to a location that promises even colder temperatures and more severe conditions, a team of scientists ventured to the coldest, most remote location on Earth.  Why? This team of U. S. Antarctic scientists, working with international partners from Britain, Germany, Australia, China, Japan and Canada completed the first comprehensive study of the Gamburtsev Mountains, found in the deep interior of East Antarctica and hidden several miles beneath the thick ice sheet!  Looking at the image above it is hard to imagine this continent as more than an icy block - but scientists felt the secrets that had been hidden deep in the heart of Antarctica could hold the key to a deeper understanding of the early history of the Earth.

planeimage
Image Credit: Zina Deretsky / NSF - click on image to enlarge

The AGAP project focused on an invisible world in one of the most remote areas on Earth, just west of the Pole of Inaccessibility, in East Antarctica.   Organized as part of a large international effort through the fourth International Polar Year, the project peeled away the roughly 2 mile deep layer of million year old glacial ice, to expose  the mountains and lakes hidden below. Working from two camps, AGAP S and AGAP N, located on either side of Dome A, the scientists and technical crew embarked on one of the major scientific expeditions of our century.

Link to NSF Press Release 2/24/09

 

 

 
       
 
 
This project funded through NSF Antarctic Research Grants #ANT 0632292; ANT 0619457 | contact us | web master
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