Scientists Discover 'Lost Continents' Beneath Antarctica Ice With Dead Satellite
Ancient continents could date back as far as 180 million years
Scientists have found relics of “lost continents” buried below the ice of Antarctica for millions of years thanks to brand new satellite images.
The European Space Agency (ESA) published a 3D model created using the dead satellite and seismological data, that may “revolutionize” what we know.
The new gravity image reveals further information about the ancient continents which date back as far as 180 million years.
According to ESA, the masses lay one mile (1.6km) underneath Antartica, but have never been found before.
“These gravity images are revolutionizing our ability to study the least understood continent on Earth, Antarctica,” Fausto Ferraccioli, Science Leader of Geology and Geophysics at the British Antarctic Survey, said.
“In East Antarctica, we see an exciting mosaic of geological features that reveal fundamental similarities and differences between the crust beneath Antarctica and other continents it was joined to until 160 million years ago.”
Among the findings, there was new information on Gondwana – a supercontinent that housed what is now Antarctica.
According to the DS: The studies showed that Antarctica and Australia remained linked as recently as 55million years ago, despite the landmass splitting about 130 years ago.
And they also revealed west Antarctica has a thinner crust than the east.
The images have helped researches to map out the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates below the icy continent.
GOCE mission scientist Roger Haagmans said:
“It is exciting to see that direct use of the gravity gradients, which were measured for the first time ever with GOCE, leads to a fresh independent look inside Earth – even below a thick sheet of ice.
“It also provides the context of how continents were possibly connected in the past before they drifted apart owing to plate motion.”
The group hopes to now use their findings to examine how Antarctica’s geology and continental structure is affecting the melting of its ice.