Tag Archive | Antarctica

Green Ice Found in Antarctica! What’s the Case!?

Massive meteorite has been found by Korean scientists in Antarctica

According to Chosunbiz, Korean scientists working at the Jang Boko Science (Korean Polar Research Institute) Base in Antarctica announced they have discovered a meteorite. The research center reported that this was the largest meteorite that was ever found by Korean scientists. It was found at a location some 300 kilometers away from the base.
 
The Korean Polar Research Institute (KORPI) has begun exploring the Antarctic ever since the year 2006 and have embarked upon 8 expeditions. This expedition, a team of 4 led by Dr. Jong-Ik Lee, arrived at the Jang Boko base on the 7th of November, and their research there will continue until the 17th of December.
 
Scientists have shown great interest in meteorites for they believe they could find clues to the origin of the Earth by researching these specimens. Meteors found in Antarctica, they believe are the remains of small asteroids from the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars and these interest scientists most. 80 percent of meteorites held by Korean research institutes are said to be found in the Antarctic.
 
KORPI researchers are planning to analyze the most recent discovery with an electronic microscope and the results will be reported to the International Meteor Organization (IMO). Dr. Lee’s team is also planning to search for traces of space dust near the location of the meteor’s impact.
 
KORPI scientists will be continuing their research in Antarctica in their search for the origin of the Earth.

Active Volcano Discovered Beneath Antarctica ‘Will Melt and Destabilise Ice Sheet’ if it Erupts

Marie Byrd Land
The volcano was discovered in Marie Byrd Land.Michael Studinger / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An active volcano has been discovered beneath the ice in Antarctica and scientists believe it could seriously exacerbate the problem of global warming.

Scientists at the Washington University in St Louis examined volcanic activity in Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica where many volcanoes are known to exist.

Study author Amanda Lough said the volcano was discovered around 30 miles from Antarctica’s highest volcano, Mount Sidley.

The researchers say an eruption at the volcano was unlikely to break through the surface of the ice, but instead would melt the ice beneath. Their paper said that “high heat flow through the crust in this region may influence the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

“Eruptions at this site are unlikely to penetrate the 1.2 to 2km thick overlying ice, but would generate large volumes of melt water that could significantly affect ice stream flow.”

Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers found the volcano after setting up lines of seismographs across the area, using vibrations to create images of the ice and underlying rock. During their research, they found several nearby earthquakes and realised they had found a previously undiscovered active volcano.

“We interpret the swarm events as deep long-period earthquakes based on their unusual frequency content. Such earthquakes occur beneath active volcanoes, are caused by deep magmatic activity and, in some cases, precede eruptions,” the study said.

An eruption at the site has the potential to create mass amounts of melt water that would flow towards the sea, increasing the flow of overlaying ice and speeding up the rate of ice sheet loss.

The authors added that their observations provide “strong evidence for ongoing magmatic activity” and show that volcanism is shifting southwards along the Executive Committee Range, a mountain range stretching 80km.

Avian flu virus found among penguins in Antarctica

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An international team of researchers have for the first time identified a new avian influenza virus in a group of Adelie penguins from Antarctica. 
 
The virus is unlike any other circulating avian flu viruses. 
 
While other research groups have taken blood samples from penguins before and detected influenza antibodies, no one had detected actual live influenza virus in penguins or other birds in Antarctica previously, said senior research scientist Aeron Hurt at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia. 
 
The virus did not cause illness in the penguins but the study shows that avian influenza viruses can get down to Antarctica and be maintained in penguin populations, he said. “It raises a lot of unanswered questions,” Hurt added. They include how often Avian Influenza Virus (AIVs) are being introduced into Antarctica, whether it is possible for highly pathogenic AIVs to be transferred there, what animals or ecosystems are maintaining the virus and whether the viruses are being cryo-preserved during the winters. 
 
For the study, Hurt collected swabs from the windpipes and posterior openings of 301 Adelie penguins and blood from 270 penguins from two locations on the Antarctic Peninsula: Admiralty Bay and Rada Covadonga. The samples were collected during January and February 2013. 
 
Using a laboratory technique called real-time reverse transcription-PCR, the researchers found AIV genetic material in eight (2.7%) samples, six from adult penguins and two from chicks. Seven of the samples were from Rada Covadonga. The researchers were able to culture four of these viruses demonstrating that live infectious virus was present.

Giant Antarctica Iceberg Puts Nasa On Alert

The iceberg is bigger than Chicago and, at a third of a mile thick, could take more than a year to melt

The B-31 Iceberg is seen after separating from a rift in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier.

An iceberg bigger than Chicago is being monitored by Nasa after breaking into the ocean off Antarctica.

The sheet, known as B31, is one of the biggest on the planet at 255 square miles (660 sq km).

NASA has been monitoring Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier since a crack was spotted in 2011, amid fears any iceberg could contribute to rising sea levels.

B31, which is about a third of a mile (500m) thick, is not currently on any major shipping routes.

However, with winter approaching in the area, it could become difficult to track.

“The iceberg is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern Ocean,” Grant Bigg, from the University of Sheffield, said in the NASA statement.

The B-31 Iceberg is seen before separating from a rift in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier

“We are doing some research on local ocean currents to try to explain the motion properly. It has been surprising how there have been periods of almost no motion, interspersed with rapid flow.”

An iceberg this big could take a year or more to melt, Robert Marsh, a scientist at the University of Southampton, said in an interview last year.

The largest iceberg ever recorded was called B15 and had an area of 4,250 square miles (11,000 square kilometres) – about the size of Jamaica.

It broke off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000 and still exists in several parts around the Antarctic.