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Lake discovered miles under the Antarctic ice sheet

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City-sized lake discovered miles under the Antarctic ice sheet

A city-sized lake under the ice of Antarctica could shed light on what happens if global temperatures keep climbing, according to a new study.

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin spotted Lake Snow Eagle at the bottom of a mile-deep canyon in the highlands of Antarctica’s Princess Elizabeth Land, under two miles of ice. Its waters may contain ancient sediments which would reveal what the continent looked like before it froze over and how climate change is affecting it.

“This lake is likely to have a record of the entire history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, its initiation over 34 million years ago, as well as its growth and evolution across glacial cycles since then,” says study author Don Blankenship, a senior research scientist at UT Austin’s Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), in a university release.

“Our observations also suggest that the ice sheet changed significantly about 10,000 years ago, although we have no idea why.”

Researchers ‘literally jumped’ after the discovery

The researchers became curious after spotting a “smooth depression” while reviewing satellite images of the ice sheet.

They spent the next three years flying systematic surveys over the area with an ice penetrating radar and sensors to measure minute changes in Earth’s gravity and magnetic field.

“I literally jumped when I first saw that bright radar reflection,” says lead author and graduate student Shuai Yan.

They were easily able to spot the lake as, unlike ice, water reflects radar signals like a mirror. The surveys lit up the underlying geology of the region and revealed the depth of water and sediments it contained, allowing them to construct a detailed picture of the surrounding area’s jagged, highland landscape.

It shows the newly discovered lake, which owes its name to one of the aircrafts used in its discovery, is about 30 miles long, nine miles wide, and 650 feet deep. Sediment, material broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, under the lake, could be older than the ice sheet itself.

New clues about the history of climate change?

Getting a sample of the lake’s sediments by drilling down to around 1,000 feet could help plug the gaps when it comes to understanding Antarctica’s ice sheets and their possible demise from climate change.

It might contain information about how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet first began and help explain what role the Antarctic Circumpolar Current plays. This is a ring of cold water circling the continent, which scientists believe keeps it cool.

“This lake’s been accumulating sediment over a very long time, potentially taking us through the period when Antarctica had no ice at all, to when it went into deep freeze,” adds co-author Professor Martin Siegert from Imperial College London.

“We don’t have a single record of all those events in one place, but the sediments at the bottom of this lake could be ideal.”

The findings are published in the journal Geology.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This comes under the heading of “pure science” & as such I should enjoy watching what is revealed though my deep vein of cynicism suggests the likely outcome:

    1) If the cores obtained from the lake show anthropogenic warming has occurred then the climate change nutters will give the results a massage (aka as an adjustment) then present them as concrete evidence of the need for mankind to eat lentils & travel by train. BUT

    2) If the evidence suggests that the climate has never been static & the promotion of its changing due solely to the efforts of humans is a crock of shit as we all know then the cores will be fed through a mincer & a sign proclaiming “move on – nothing to see here” will be erected over Lake Snow Eagle.

    The science that has been trotted out by the power seekers to support Covid & climate change has proved only one thing & that is that science has sold its soul to Mammon.

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    • Earth has been through several Ice Ages in the last 400,000 years. They have been cyclical. Freezing-warming-freezing-warming.

      What caused the ice to retreat? It can’t have been human activity. Most likely some natural mechanism that we don’t yet understand.

      Although the outcome is “warming,” the factors responsible and their interactions are incredibly complex.

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  2. Thanks for article,

    There is however nothing new about water stored below land, below ice or in rock, It has been known about for a long time. Much of the water is at high pressure due the weight of the land, rock, and ice above it.

    Clearly these scientists skipped primary school, so they need to be reminded that water and ice are one and the same, but just at different temperatures. And the deeper down you go, the greater the pressure and the greater the temperature; The temperature of the earth’s core is between 4000° and 7000° kelvin. And the temperature of outer space (when not in the path of the sun’s radiation) very close to absolute zero, 0° Kelvin, well actually 2.7° Kelvin.

    So depending on where you are on the gradient line between the earth’s core and space, will determine temperature including that of water/ice. You will not find ice blocks at the earths core and you will not find liquid water in space.

    The discovery of the lake is therefore not unexpected. The presence of massive reserves of water at high pressure under the earths mantle was discovered many years ago, and higher up groundwater holds more water then the ice sheets.

    https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=111648
    https://phys.org/news/2021-09-groundwater-ice-sheets-largest-reservoir.html

    Articles I have read in the past few years indicate that the total quantity of water stored at pressure under the mantle, may exceed the the total quantity of the oceans.

    The only questions are:
    [1] Will research into this lake provide “irrefutable proof” that man is creating climate change” Or will it truthfully show climate has been changing all by itself?

    [2] Will “anointed” scientists continue sharing the disinformation that sea level rise in the last few years is rising at a exponential rate, despite tidal gauges around the global showing the same rate of change of ~1.5mm rise per year as it always has, year after year?

    [3] Will governments keep insisting that carbon taxes will scare the shit out of mother nature and stop the sea level rise that occurs as a result of warming created by coming out of an ice age? The idea that carbon taxes (public sacrifice paid to the money Gods) will influence the earth’s natural cycles, and stop seal level rise, is about as pagan as the ancient idea that slitting the throat of a virgin on a stone altar (public sacrifice), will influence earth’s natural cycles and lead to a better harvest.

    Yes we need to look after planet earth and not pollute. Taxes paid to a money God does however not stop pollution. Harnessing “The Wheelwork of Nature” (Nikola Tesla quote) will however reduce the reliance on polluting fossil fuels. Hydro-electricity and Nuclear Energy are two good examples of harnessing “The Wheelwork of Nature”.

    It is therefore unfortunate, that those who oppose the burning of fossil fuels are all Red-Green colour blind, and have swallowed the money swindlers lies and therefore oppose harnessing “The Wheelwork of Nature”, in the form of Hydro-electricity and Nuclear Energy.

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