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antarctica

Mysterious Antarctic algae blown in by high winds

When fossils of microscopic marine algae called diatoms were discovered high in the Transantarctic Mountains 30 years ago, the mysterious find set off a heated debate about whether Antarctica had thawed enough at some point within the last few million years for the emergence of algae-rich seas in the middle of the continent, or whether the diatoms were blown far inland by wind. Now, a new study links the two hypotheses: Researchers led by Reed Scherer of Northern Illinois University found that the algae were likely deposited by strong winds after substantial ice-sheet melt led to sea-level rise along eastern Antarctica.

23 Dec 2016

Seafloor topography drives Earth's great conveyor belt

In the Southern Ocean, the world’s largest current in terms of volume transport — the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) — encircles Antarctica and connects the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific ocean basins, as it flows from west to east. The ACC influences ocean circulation and global climate, as it rises from the deep to interact with the atmosphere. In a new study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, researchers have directly measured how seafloor topography affects the current’s structure — something that had only been theorized previously.

20 Dec 2016

Ice (Re)Cap: December 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

09 Dec 2016

Down to Earth With: Underwater cave explorer Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth has trekked farther into caves than any woman in history and logged more than 7,000 dives across every continent and up to roughly 140 meters underwater — recreational divers only reach depths up to 40 meters. She has dived inside icebergs in Antarctica, beneath the Sahara Desert, and in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas.

02 Dec 2016

Down to Earth With: Volcanologist Kayla Iacovino

When Kayla Iacovino enrolled as a freshman at Arizona State University in 2005, she thought she might become an astronaut. But, after a field trip to outcrops in northern Arizona during her first semester, she became hooked on geology.

28 Oct 2016

Antarctic no place to hide during end-Cretaceous extinction

The end-Cretaceous extinction is famous for killing off the dinosaurs, but many other species perished as well. A new study in Nature Communications of marine fossils found in the Antarctic indicates that the extinction event was just as deadly for creatures in the polar regions.

07 Oct 2016

Ice (Re)Cap: August 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

13 Aug 2016

Iron meteorites likely hidden below Antarctic ice

Despite the fact that meteorites fall relatively evenly across the surface of the planet, most meteorites retrieved by humans have come from Antarctica. This is because meteorites are easily buried and preserved in Antarctic ice; over time, the ice melts and exposes the dark-colored fallen rocks for relatively easy recovery on the continent’s white surface. But iron-rich meteorites, common among specimens found in other parts of the planet, are unusually rare in Antarctica. Researchers may now have figured out why.

14 Jul 2016

Ice (Re)Cap: June 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

06 Jun 2016

Giant icebergs spur carbon storage in Southern Ocean

A new study shows that giant icebergs floating in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica may be playing a larger role in carbon sequestration and Earth’s global carbon cycle than previously thought.

19 May 2016

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