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Antarctic Current Events

Using Unmanned Aircraft to Survey Polar Ice
April 8, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“Scientists studying the behavior of the world’s ice sheets–and the future implications of ice sheet behavior for global sea-level rise–may soon have a new airborne tool that will allow radar measurements that previously would have been prohibitively expensive or difficult to carry out with manned aircraft.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Extreme Ice Survey at Antarctica Peninsula
April 8, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article and video titled: “Chasing Ice Photographer Focuses on Melting Glaciers in Antarctica”…. they bolt nine time lapse cameras to bedrock overlooking glaciers and photograph them every hour during daylight.

One Second After the Big Bang!
March 25, 2014 | National Science Foundation

NSF researchers “announced that their telescope in Antarctica has allowed them to collect what they believe is the first direct evidence for cosmic inflation. Inflation is the cataclysmic event in which, in a fleeting fraction of a second following the Big Bang, the infant universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of the best telescopes.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Largest Aircraft
March 11, 2014 | The Telegraph

The world’s largest aircraft is a hybrid between a helium airship, a helicopter and a plane.

It can transport tons of freight and stay airborne for up to three weeks! It is expected to see duty in some of the most challenging environments.

Perpetual Ocean Video
February 9, 2014 | NASA on

“This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through Decemeber 2007. The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.” Quoted from the NASA YouTube Channel.

Huge Trench Discovered Beneath Antarctic Ice
February 2, 2014 | Newcastle University

Researchers have discovered a feature larger than the Grand Canyon beneath the ice of Antarctica. They describe it as: “a massive subglacial valley up to 3 kilometres deep, more than 300 kilometres long and up to 25 kilometres across. In places, the floor of this valley is more than 2000 metres below sea level.” Quoted from the Newcastle University press release.

Drilling Problems Exploring Subglacial Lakes in Antarctica
January 23, 2014 |

A Nature article looks at the problems encountered when researchers attempt to drill into lakes beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Fastest Persons to the South Pole
January 16, 2014 | National Geographic

Parker Liautaud and Doug Stoup set a new world speed record for skiing unsupported to the South Pole. They covered the 314 miles in a little over 18 days. Liautaud was the youngest person ever to make the trek.

US Coast Guard Off to Rescue Stuck Ships
January 5, 2014 |

The Polar Star, an icebreaker of the United States Coast Guard, is off to Antarctica to rescue two ships that are stuck in thick sea ice.

Trapped in Antarctic Ice
December 30, 2013 | NBC News

Three rescue ice breakers have failed to reach a ship with 74 passengers stuck in Antarctic ice. The next rescue attempt could be a helicopter evacuation of the passengers.

How Ice Breakers Work
December 30, 2013 | NBC News

NBC news has an article titled: “How icebreakers work — and why they sometimes don’t work“. It is a timely topic at a time when 74 people are aboard a ship stuck in Antarctic ice.

A Hotspot Under Antarctica?
December 12, 2013 | Live Science

Researchers have discovered a slow velocity zone under the Marie Byrd Land area of Antarctica, which together with volcanoes above and below the ice suggest the presence of a hotspot.

A Record Temperature of Minus 93C
December 10, 2013 | BBC

Using satellite thermal sensors, researchers have determined that a record low temperature of approximately minus 93.2C occurred on August 10, 2010 at a location in the center of Antarctica.

NSF Image
IceCube Researchers Detect 28 Neutrinos
November 27, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Researchers with the IceCube Collaboration have [...] observed 28 very high-energy neutrinos that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators. [...] IceCube is an [...] astrophysical telescope deployed deep in the Antarctic ice (from 1.4 to 2.4 km depth), but looks over the entire universe, detecting neutrinos coming through the Earth from the Northern skies, as well as from around the Southern skies,” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

A Rumbling Volcano Beneath Antarctic Ice?
November 18, 2013 | Washington University

“My first thought was, ‘OK, maybe it’s just coincidence.’ But then I looked more closely and realized that the mountains were actually volcanoes and there was an age progression to the range. The volcanoes closest to the seismic events were the youngest ones.” Quoted from the Washington University press release.

USGS image
M7.8 Earthquake in the Scotia Sea
November 17, 2013 | USGS

“The November 17, 2013 earthquake in the Scotia Sea, to the northwest of the South Orkney Islands, occurred as the result of either left-lateral strike slip faulting on an east-west oriented plane, or right-lateral faulting on a north-south plane. [...] The November 17 earthquake is the latest in a series of moderate-to-large earthquakes to strike the same region over the past several days.” Quoted from the USGS earthquake summary. No tsunami advisories were issued.

Melting the Antarctic Ice Shelf from Below
October 19, 2013 |

An Antarctic Shutdown?
October 10, 2013 | National Public Radio

The summer field season is about to begin in Antarctica, but the government shutdown seems to be tossing a wrench into the works. Will a year’s worth of carefully planned research be lost?

Most Popular News Items for September 2013
October 6, 2013 |

Niagara Falls Without Water (1969)

Futuristic Transportation?

Volcanoes of the Rio Grande Rift

Dashboard Cam Captures Massive Rock Fall

Huge Crater in Antarctic Ice

Many Types of Sand

What Happened at Mount Paektu in North Korea?

The Dry Hole that Led to $1.5 Trillion in Crude

Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes

Warm Ocean Water Melting and Antarctic Glacier
September 24, 2013 | Penn State

“Warm ocean water, not warm air, is melting the Pine Island Glacier’s floating ice shelf in Antarctica and may be the culprit for increased melting of other ice shelves.”

Revelations of an Antarctic Ice Core
September 17, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Analysis of an ice core [...] reveals that warming in Antarctica began about 22,000 years ago, a few thousand years earlier than suggested by previous records. This timing shows that West Antarctica did not “wait for a cue” from the Northern Hemisphere to start warming, as scientists had previously supposed.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Huge Crater in Antarctic Ice
September 16, 2013 | European Space Agency

“ESA’s CryoSat satellite has found a vast crater in Antarctica’s icy surface. Scientists believe the crater was left behind when a lake lying under about 3 km of ice suddenly drained.” Quoted from the ESA press release.

Life Found in an Antarctic Subglacial Lake
September 11, 2013 | British Antarctic Survey

“What was surprising was the high biomass and diversity we found. This is the first time microbes have been identified living in the sediments of a subglacial Antarctic lake and indicates that life can exist and potentially thrive in environments we would consider too extreme.” Quoted from the British Antarctic Survey press release.

Popular for August 2013
September 3, 2013 |

40 Maps that Explain the World

A Spanish Fort in the Appalachians in 1567?

12-Year-Old Finds a 5-Carat Diamond in Arkansas

Sinkhole in Western Kansas

Rare Eruption of Steamboat Geyser

Origin of the Antarctica Ice Sheet?

Frozen Landslides in Alaska

Solar Magnetic Field is about to Flip?

Flash Flooding Near Page, Arizona


Seafloor Volcanoes Modified Antarctic Climate?
September 2, 2013 | LA Times

A line of ancient volcanoes that grew on the floor of the Southern Ocean tens of millions of years ago may have blocked ocean currents and modified Antarctic climate.

Krill as a Barometer of Climate Change?
August 23, 2013 | National Geographic

Krill are small crustaceans that occupy a low position on the food chain in all of Earth’s oceans. National Geographic has an article that describes some of the research being done to learn about the krill in the Antarctic.

Origin of the Antarctica Ice Sheet?
August 16, 2013 | University of Texas at Austin

“A team of U.S. and UK scientists has found geologic evidence that casts doubt on one of the conventional explanations for how Antarctica’s ice sheet began forming.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Ancient Warming of Antarctica
July 26, 2013 | Imperial College London

“Researchers [...] studied mud samples to learn about ancient melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet. They discovered that melting took place repeatedly between five and three million years ago, [...] during which may have caused sea levels to rise approximately ten metres.” Quoted from the Imperial College London press release.

Antarctic Permafrost Melt Rate
July 25, 2013 | Jackson School of Geosciences

“For the first time, scientists have documented an acceleration in the melt rate of permafrost, or ground ice, in a section of Antarctica where the ice had been considered stable.” Quoted from the Jackson School of Geosciences press release.

Glass Sponge Opportunity in the Weddell Sea
July 16, 2013 | Alfred Wegener Institute

“The breakup and collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in the western Weddell Sea in 1995 has resulted in fundamental changes to life on the sea bed in less than two decades. {…] Antarctic glass sponges have been the prime beneficiaries of the disappearance of the ice shelf.” Quoted from the Alfred Wegener Institute press release.

Fish in Antarctic Lake Vostok?
July 9, 2013 | BBC

Lake Vostok is a “lake” located about 2 1/2 miles below the surface ice of Antarctica. It has not had contact with the atmosphere for millions of years. DNA evidence recovered from drilling allows the possibility that “fish” might live in the lake.

National Geographic has an article that quotes other researchers who are skeptical about the DNA evidence.

Most Popular June 1 to June 30
July 2, 2013 |

An Asteroid With a Moon?

Lunar Gravity Mystery Solved?

5000 Cave Paintings Discovered in Mexico

Geology and the Civil War

World’s Largest Landslides

The Most Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century

The Shale Gas Cycle

Topography Below Antarctic Ice

Topography Below Antarctic Ice
June 10, 2013 | British Antarctic Survey

“Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey have been working with a host of international collaborators to present the most detailed map yet of Antarctica’s landmass. [...] The map allows scientists to analyse, in much greater detail, the bed below the Antarctic ice sheet.” Quoted from the British Antarctic Survey press release.

Life in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica
June 5, 2013 | Discover Magazine

Researchers have found a diversity of microbial life in soils of the dry valleys of Antarctica.

Why Did Penguins Evolve Away from Flight?
May 24, 2013 | National Geographic

Why did penguins give up flying and instead become swimmers? National Geographic has an article that explores this question.

Time Lapse Video on an Ice Breaker
May 21, 2013 | National Science Foundation

This video compresses a two month view from the bow of an ice breaker travelling through the Ross Sea of Antarctica into less then five minutes. Watch for the wildlife surprise at the end.

The First Satellite Images of Polar Ice Coverage
April 26, 2013 | BBC has an article about the first satellite maps of the Arctic and Antarctic, produced in the 1960s and now providing useful information about polar ice change.

Life on a Whale Skeleton a Mile Below the Antarctic
March 19, 2013 | Los Angeles Times

A 35-foot-long whale skeleton on the Antarctic sea floor – nearly one mile below the surface – was supporting a diversity of life including nine previously unknown deep-sea species.

Insects and the Lack of Water in Polar Areas
March 15, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Although they live in similarly extreme ecosystems at opposite ends of the world, Antarctic insects appear to employ entirely different methods at the genetic level to cope with extremely dry conditions than their counterparts that live north of the Arctic Circle.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Temperature History of Earth Since the Ice Age
March 11, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“With data from 73 ice and sediment core monitoring sites around the world, scientists have reconstructed Earth’s temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Using the Yeti Robot in Polar Field Work
March 7, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“A century after Western explorers first crossed the dangerous landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic, researchers [...] have successfully deployed a self-guided robot that uses ground-penetrating radar to map deadly crevasses hidden in ice-covered terrains.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Micro-Sub in a Buried Antarctic Lake
March 3, 2013 | NASA

This video shows how a NASA micro-sub was deployed 2000 feet down a borehole to investigate one of the subglacial lakes in Antarctica.

Arctic vs Antarctic Biodiversity
February 19, 2013 | University of Western Australia

“The robustness of food webs of Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems has been compared for the first time, revealing that global warming can affect the biodiversity of these ecosystems in different ways despite the similarities between them.” Quoted from the University of Western Australia press release.

68,000-Year Record of Greenhouse Gases
February 8, 2013 | National Science Foundation

A team of U.S. ice-coring scientists and engineers in Antarctica, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has recovered from the ice sheet a record of past climate and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that extends back 68,000 years.

January 2013: Most Popular
February 3, 2013 | News

Giant Squid in the North Pacific

Every Field Geologist Should Know This…

Why Lava Has a Red Glow

Falling Water Levels in the Great Lakes

Eruption at Copahue

How Deep Does Magma Form?

M6.1 Earthquake on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

2012: Hottest and Second Most Extreme

Information from Greenland Ice Cores
January 27, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“The International North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project results indicate that melting of the Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea level rise than melting of the Greeland ice sheet some 100,000 years ago.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

The edge of the Greenland ice sheet, near Kangerlussuaq. Peter West, NSF.

National Climate Assessment
January 25, 2013 | U.S. Global Change Research Program

“Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.” Quoted from the Executive Summary of the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report

M6.1 Earthquake on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge
January 15, 2013 | USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

Earthquakes stronger than M6.0 are unusual on a mid-ocean ridge.

USGS reports that a M6.1 earthquake occurred on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge today at about 11:00 AM local time.

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