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Scientists discover giant trench under Antarctic Ice

A massive ancient subglacial trough - deeper than the Grand Canyon - has been discovered by a team of UK experts.
The research involved scientists from Newcastle University, the University of Bristol's Glaciology Centre, the British Antarctic Survey and the universities of Edinburgh, Exeter, and York. They charted the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands - an ancient mountain range buried beneath several kilometres of Antarctic ice - by combining data from satellites and ice-penetrating radars towed behind skidoos and on-board small aircraft.
The researchers spent three seasons investigating and mapping the region in West Antarctica, uncovering 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.

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The Antarctic polar icecap is 33.6 million years old

The Antarctic continental ice cap came into existence during the Oligocene epoch, some 33.6 million years ago, according to data from an international expedition led by the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences (IACT) - a Spanish National Research Council-University of Granada joint centre. These findings, based on information contained in ice sediments from different depths, have recently been published in the journal Science.
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Antarctic ice sheet initiated unique marine ecosystem

The origin of the ecosystems in the Antarctic seas can be traced back to the emergence of the Antarctic ice sheets approximately 33.5 million years ago. This discovery was made by an international team led by Utrecht University researchers. Furthermore, the development of a sea-ice ecosystem possibly triggered further adaptation and evolution of larger organisms such as whales and penguins.
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Sharper view of the Southern Ocean: New chart shows the entire topography of the Antarctic seafloor in detail for the first time

Reliable information on the depth and floor structure of the Southern Ocean has so far been available for only few coastal regions of the Antarctic. An international team of scientists under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, has for the first time succeeded in creating a digital map of the entire Antarctic seafloor. The International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) for the first time shows the detailed topography of the seafloor for the entire area south of 60°S. An article presented to the scientific world by IBCSO has now appeared online in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. The IBCSO data grid and the corresponding Antarctic chart will soon be freely available in the internet and are intended to help scientists amongst others to better understand and predict sea currents, geological processes or the behaviour of marine life.
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Antarctic ice volume measured

Scientists have their best measure yet for the amount of ice in Antarctica.
A detailed analysis of data compiled during 50 years of exploration shows the White Continent to contain about 26-and-a-half-million cubic km.

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What Antarctica Looked Like Before the Ice

Like Alaska's mighty Yukon, a broad river once flowed across Antarctica, following a gentle valley shaped by tectonic forces at a time before the continent became encased in ice. Understanding what happened when rivers of ice later filled the valley could solve certain climate and geologic puzzles about the southernmost continent.
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Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen, leader of the first Russian circumnavigation expedition, discovered the continent of Antarctica on January 28, 1820.
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Antarctica warmth 'unusual, but not unique'

The recent Antarctic Peninsula temperature rise and associated ice loss is unusual but not unprecedented, according to research.
Analysis of a 364m-long ice core containing several millennia of climate history shows the region previously basked in temperatures slightly higher than today.

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Palm trees 'grew on Antarctica'

Scientists drilling deep into the edge of modern Antarctica have pulled up proof that palm trees once grew there.
Analyses of pollen and spores and the remains of tiny creatures have given a climatic picture of the early Eocene period, about 53 million years ago.
The study in Nature suggests Antarctic winter temperatures exceeded 10C, while summers may have reached 25C.

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 Study Finds Ancient Warming Greened Antarctica

A new university-led study with NASA participation finds ancient Antarctica was much warmer and wetter than previously suspected. The climate was suitable to support substantial vegetation -- including stunted trees -- along the edges of the frozen continent.
The team of scientists involved in the study, published online June 17 in Nature Geoscience, was led by Sarah J. Feakins of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and included researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
By examining plant leaf wax remnants in sediment core samples taken from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, the research team found summer temperatures along the Antarctic coast 15 to 20 million years ago were 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) warmer than today, with temperatures reaching as high as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). Precipitation levels also were found to be several times higher than today.

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