11 Strange Discoveries in Antarctica
From Fantastic Fossil Finds in ancient ice, to Sea Spiders from your Nightmares; These are 11 Strange Discoveries in Antarctica!
Sea spiders can be found all over the world. They’re actually marine arthropods, and can normally range in size from 1 millimeter to around 25 centimeters. But in Antarctica, it’s another story. Sea spiders can grow to massive sizes, with leg spans up to 90 centimeters! With 8 long legs and a proboscis (pruh-BOSS-is) to match, the creatures grow larger in this region than anywhere else in the world. They represent a phenomenon called ‘Polar Gigantism’ (jie-GAN-tism). That condition is also found in other animals such as certain mollusks, which are known to grow larger at the North and South Poles. Scientists still aren’t sure how to explain the phenomenon. One hypothesis holds that the creature's greater size is connected to a higher concentration of oxygen in cold waters … and there is a higher content of oxygen found in seawater off the Antarctic coast. So that, combined with slower metabolisms due to colder temperatures … could lead to the creatures having larger bodies.
It may look like the result of Photoshopping, but these icebergs are real … and they’re found not only in Antarctica, but north to the Arctic Circle as well. The stripes found in the icebergs can range in color from blue, black, and even green! The bizarre patterns are the result of frozen melt water that combines with sediment, algae, and immense pressurization. When gaps in the icebergs are filled with meltwater and freezes, the blue striping occurs. Darker markings occur from sediment collected during the iceberg’s development, or still connected to a glacier by an ice shelf. When algae found in seawater freezes to the bottom of the icebergs, green veins are the result. As you can see, the effects can appear as if someone spilled green paint down the iceberg’s slope.
Until recently, scientists were baffled by a huge impact crater located in Antarctica … one that measured an incredible 2 kilometers (1.24m) wide! The mysterious ring-like anomaly was observed by researchers during a routine survey flight over East Antarctica … It was described as a type of circular scarring in the ice sheet, which surrounded what appeared to be broken icebergs and additional scarring in the ice. What could have produced such a strange structure in the normally flat and featureless ice-scape? The formation was the result of a meteorite, one that measured an estimated 7 to 10 meters wide … and would have exploded in the skies above Antarctica with a force equal to 12,000 tons of dynamite! Experts believe the meteorite would have arrived in 2004 … That’s based upon findings from two separate studies. One study cited a dust trail observed in the atmosphere around September of 2004 … The other offered evidence of low frequency sounds detected by six global infrasound detectors. The low frequency sounds of the exploding meteorite were picked up in September of 2004 as well. That information allowed experts to pinpoint where the meteor fell …and it matched the location of the enormous crater discovered at the King Baudoin (baw-doo-in) Ice Shelf.
We earlier showed you some icebergs with some bizarre striping … now here’s a location in East Antarctica that looks as if it could be murder scene! The gory looking location is named, appropriately enough, ‘Blood Falls’. The unsettling color isn’t the result of foul play. The coloration is partially the result of a brine liquid discharge that flows from Taylor Glacier. The discharge is rich in iron oxides … which helps to result in a reddish hue. But researchers have also discovered that the brine is part of a saltwater aquifer network that extends over 1100 feet below the ice. The network of salty lakes is thought to contain microbial life, which alters the brine’s iron and sulphur compounds as part of its survival. When the liquid oxidizes at the surface, the bloody coloration results. Experts say the network of of saltwater lakes is located underneath the McMurdo Dry Valleys … Did you know that is considered to be among the coldest and driest deserts in the world?
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Posted by Nicole Bourbaki