Magazine article Geographical

Subglacial Mountain Range Rivals the Alps

Magazine article Geographical

Subglacial Mountain Range Rivals the Alps

Article excerpt

Images of a subglacial landscape that rivals the Alps have been captured for the first time in Antarctica, following an extensive survey as part of the International Polar Year.

Using remote sensing technology and ice-penetrating radar mounted on two aircraft, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and research institutions from six other nations endured average temperatures of--30[degrees]C in some of the highest and most exposed parts of the region to make the most extensive survey of a landscape that is buried under up to four kilometres of ice.

Discovered in 1958 as part of a Soviet expedition using seismic sounding, the precise dimensions of the Gamburtsev mountain chain have remained a mystery until now, despite a small survey conducted during the 1970s. Setting up two bases on either side of 4,000-metre Dome Argus in the middle of the White Continent, the scientists were able to explore a fifth of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, flying two survey aircraft fitted with radar and aeromagnetic and gravity sensors a total of 120,000 kilometres--the equivalent of three trips around the world. …

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