Magazine article Geographical

Mystery of Antarctic Mountains Solved

Magazine article Geographical

Mystery of Antarctic Mountains Solved

Article excerpt

Scientists believe they have unravelled the mysterious origins of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, a range the size of the Alps that lies beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet.

Since the mountains were discovered in 1958, they've presented geographers with a paradox. Their Iocation on the East Antarctic craton suggested that they were formed around one billion years ago. But their high elevation and Alpine topography gave the impression that they appeared .much more recently.

New research published in Nature suggests that the Gamburtsev range may have been created after a series of tectonic events. A team from universities in the UK, USA and Germany used radar, gravity and magnetic data to present the first comprehensive view of the crustal architecture and uplift mechanisms relating to the range. The geophysical data described a 2,500-kilometre rift system--similar to that in East Africa--surrounding the range and a thick 'crustal root' beneath it. …

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