The Loh Down On Science

You'll be surprised to hear what's under the ice of Antarctica!

American Geological Society / Polar Geospatial Center.

It’s The Little Mermaid meets Frozen!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science—singing "Under the Ice…"

Because a team of UK geologists have discovered “a whole new world” underneath a mile of Antarctic ice.  And it’s a doozy!  A subglacial valley twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! 

How did they find this geological marvel?  The team was using ice-penetrating radar to chart the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands.  That's a mountain range underneath a glacier in West Antarctica.  With radar mounted on snowmobiles and small aircraft, there was still a vast area they couldn’t survey.  

But with the help of NASA satellites, they got the whole picture.  And there it was, right under their frozen red noses!  The Ellsworth Trough—nearly 200 miles long, 15 miles wide, and 2 miles deep.  Big enough to be seen from space!

The researchers say that a small icefield carved out the Ellsworth Trough tens of millions of years ago.  Over time, the landscape was buried beneath more layers of ice and snow.

As to the fancy new ice hotel that’s down there?  “Be our guest!”  Sorry.  Those Disney tunes are catchy.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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