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antarctica

Down to Earth With: Lawson Brigham

Lawson Brigham, a Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and retired U.S. Coast Guard captain, has worn many hats in his career. He has been the deputy director and Alaska Office director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission in Anchorage; chair of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic nations; vice chair of the Arctic Council’s working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment; and a contributing author to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

18 Oct 2012

Antarctic trees surprise scientists

Antarctic ice sheets can be unforgiving field sites for scientists looking for fossils, as the ice grinds and pulverizes signs of previous life. The adjacent ocean sediments, however, are a good hiding place for microscopic fossils from plants — pollen and leaf waxes that provide clues to ancient temperatures. Scientists have now retrieved samples of pollen and leaf wax from 15.5-million- to 20-million-year-old sediments that indicate Antarctica not only received more rain during the Middle Miocene than previously thought, but was also home to trees, albeit stubby ones.

03 Sep 2012

Five outstanding questions in earth science

Even 15 years after the release of “Good Will Hunting,” there remains something appealing about watching the title character, a mathematically inclined janitor at MIT, scribble the solution to an unsolved mathematics problem on a hallway blackboard. In reality, there are a number of unsolved problems in mathematics, seven of which were designated in 2000 by the Clay Mathematics Institute as “Millennium Prize Problems,” each with a purse of $1,000,000. To date, only one has been solved.

27 Jun 2012

CryoScoop: Two-decade Antarctic drilling effort complete

Valery Lukin, director of the Russian Antarctic program, confirmed today that a team of Russian scientists has completed an Antarctic drilling project two decades in the making, according to the Associated Press. The team finished drilling on Feb. 5 through 3.25 kilometers of ice to reach Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial lake in the world.

07 Feb 2012

Unearthing Antarctica's mysterious mountains

In 1958, geologists discovered a mountain range buried more than a kilometer beneath the East Antarctica Ice Sheet. For more than half a century, the origins of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains have proven to be a geological puzzle, but a new study may have finally solved the enigma, and simultaneously given geologists a new understanding of mountain-building processes.

07 Feb 2012

Astronomy under the ice: Scientists use Antarctic ice to study some of the tiniest particles in the cosmos

Deep below the glacial surface at the South Pole, where the Antarctic ice is crystal clear yet pitch black, a 3-D array of more than 5,000 custom-built and precisely positioned sensors, each about the size of a basketball, lies frozen in place. The sensors keep watch for thousands of momentary flashes of blue light that zip by every second, some the result of collisions between neutrinos — nearly massless subatomic particles with no electrical charge — and the relatively large atomic nuclei in the frozen water.

01 Jan 2012

CryoScoop: Massive rift portends Antarctic berg

Researchers flying over West Antarctica last month were at the right place at the right time, spotting an actively growing rift that they expect will spawn an iceberg about 10 times the size of Manhattan.

04 Nov 2011

CryoScoop: Green Light to McMurdo

Polar scientists breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the good news reached inboxes: Icebreaking capability was restored to McMurdo Station, preventing the deferment of some Antarctic field work this year.

Each year, an icebreaker heads to McMurdo Sound where it cuts and maintains a path to McMurdo Station, a large U.S. Antarctic research base and the stage for logistical operations, located on the southern tip of Ross Island. The ice-free channel allows for the passage of tankers and cargo ships bringing supplies and fuel to the remote establishment.

26 Aug 2011

Blogging on EARTH: Yellow submarine robot debuts at AGU meeting

It doesn’t look like a typical robot. About half a meter across and 9 meters long, a new, super-high-tech submarine ROV, unveiled Tuesday in San Francisco at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting, strongly resembles … well, a big yellow cigar.

15 Dec 2010

December 1, 1959: Antarctic Treaty Signed

Science trumps all in Antarctica. For the past 50 years, Antarctica has remained a military-free, globally shared continent, dedicated to peace and scientific advancement, thanks to the Antarctica Treaty.
 
01 Dec 2009

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