Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on February 12 released the first-ever footage showing A-68 iceberg, said to be four times the size of London, that calved from the Larsen-C ice shelf in July 2017.

When A-68, a trillion-ton iceberg the size of DE (or ten Madrids or two Luxembourgs, whatever you want to call it), parted ways with the Antarctic Larsen-C ice shelf in the summer of 2017, it was the largest recorded calving in history. Due to warming temperatures, Antarctica's ice shelves are starting to thin or collapse. And some creatures have made a living under extreme conditions, including a crustacean called Lyssianasid amphipod, which was found thriving beneath the Ross Ice Shelf in western Antarctica.

Researchers will board the RRS James Clark Ross from the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina by February 21.

This time around, researchers hope to be there quick enough to possibly surprise some of the supposed alien-like life lurking in the depths.

"It's important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonize", Linse also said.


On the small portion of the sea floor they examined they saw a brittle star - a relative of starfish.

"We don't know what the actual baseline community is under and ice shelf", mission lead Katrin Linse told RT.com. The environment it once was has now been fundamentally altered at a remarkable pace, and as the iceberg continues to drift away, those light levels will only rise further.

The scientists are concerned that as the year progresses and sunlight hits the water it will be colonised by phytoplankton - tiny creatures that use sunlight for sustenance. The exposed marine ecosystem, though recently discovered, was tucked in beneath the ice shelf for more than 100,000 years.

The A68 calved off from Antarctica because of rising temperatures in the region, so as these scientists study how these changes in the environment are affecting local wildlife, we'll get a better understanding of the effects that our consumption of fossil fuels will have on the world as a whole, including (and especially) polar regions with their unique, freaky ecosystems.

"The calving of A-68 offers a new and unprecedented opportunity to establish an interdisciplinary scientific research programme in this climate sensitive region", said David Vaughan, Science Director at BAS. "Now is the time to address fundamental questions about the sustainability of polar continental shelves under climate change".

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