sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica gives new insight
Rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica gives new insight

'The ice-margin of Ferrigno Ice Stream where it flows into Eltanin Bay'    Rob Bingham

Scientists have discovered a one mile deep rift valley concealed beneath the ice in West Antarctica, which they believe is contributing to ice loss from this part of the continent.

Experts from the University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) made the discovery below Ferrigno Ice Stream, a region visited only once previously, over fifty years ago, in 1961, and one that is remote even by Antarctic standards.

Their findings, reported in Nature this week reveal that the ice-filled ancient rift basin is connected to the warming ocean which impacts upon contemporary ice flow and loss.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is of great scientific interest and societal importance as it is losing ice faster than any other part of Antarctica with some glaciers shrinking by more than one metre per year.

Understanding the processes that influence ice loss from West Antarctica is important to improve predictions of its future behaviour in a warming world.

 

Field camp on Ferrigno Ice Stream (home from November 2009 e28093 February 2010). (Photo: Rob Bingham)

Dr. Robert Bingham, a glaciologist working in the University of Aberdeen’s School of Geosciences and lead author of the study, discovered the rift valley whilst undertaking three months of fieldwork with British Antarctic Survey in 2010.

Dr. Bingham, whose fieldwork was funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said: “Over the last 20 years we have used satellites to monitor ice losses from Antarctica, and we have witnessed consistent and substantial ice losses from around much of its coastline.

“For some of the glaciers, including Ferrigno Ice Stream, the losses are especially pronounced, and, to understand why, we needed to acquire data about conditions beneath the ice surface.”




Ice-penetrating radar being towed across Ferrigno Ice Stream on 8 January 2010. (Photo: Rob Bingham)


The team gathered the data using an ice-penetrating radar system towed behind a skidoo driven across the relatively flat ice surface, over a distance of 1500 miles — greater than that between London and Athens.

Dr. Bingham continued: “What we found is that lying beneath the ice there is a large valley, parts of which are approximately a mile deeper than the surrounding landscape.

“If you stripped away all of the ice here today, you’d see a feature every bit as dramatic as the huge rift valleys you see in Africa and in size as significant as the Grand Canyon.

“This is at odds with the flat ice surface that we were driving across — without these measurements we would never have known that it was there.

“What’s particularly important is that this spectacular valley aligns perfectly with the recordings of ice-surface lowering and ice loss that we have witnessed with satellite observations over this area for the last twenty years.”

Co-author and geophysicist Dr. Fausto Ferraccioli from British Antarctic Survey added: “The newly discovered Ferrigno Rift is part of a huge and yet poorly understood rift system that lies beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

“What this study shows is that this ancient rift basin, and the others discovered under the ice that connect to the warming ocean can influence contemporary ice flow and may exacerbate ice losses by steering coastal changes further inland.”

Professor David Vaughan, from British Antarctic Survey leads Ice2sea, a major EU-funded FP7 research programme to improve projections of global and regional sea-level. He said, “Thinning ice in West Antarctica is currently contributing nearly 10 per cent of global sea level rise. It’s important to understand this hot spot of change so we can make more accurate predictions for future sea level rise.”

The research in Nature is part of the British Antarctic Survey Icesheets Programme, which examines the role of ice sheets in the Earth System, and the processes that control ice-sheet change. It monitors current change and sets this in context with the past allowing more accurate projections for increases in global sea level to be made.


Ferrigno Animation



A four minute narrated animation showing that the current pattern of ice thinning observed in West Antarctica is inherently influenced by geological processes over millions of years.

British Antarctic Survey website


by British Antarctic Survey

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=100204

3:21 PM Thu 26 Jul 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World































































Formula Windsurfing Youth and Master Worlds overall by International Windsurfing Association,




ISAF Youth Worlds - Laser Radial sailors look to join list of legends
Coville soon to chase solo circumnavigation record in giant trimaran
Fierce competition at the Meanline Fins Slalom Challenge
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel opt for experienced winner
Bakewell-White supermaxi designed to take Transpac's Barn Door Trophy *Feature
Crew rescued by navy patrol from J/111 racer after Mayday in storm
Team Alvimedica practice in Newport, RI - Photos
18 foot skiff European Championship (Open Europeans) - Final results
Nacra 17 European Championships - No action on day 1
ISAF Youth Worlds - 29er and SL16 sailors prepare for battle + Video
Volvo Ocean Race: Eight new crew members named by teams
Volvo Ocean Race: New additions to Spanish team announced
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Phuket Island is ready to host
PWA Awaza World Cup - Cyril Moussilmani and Delphine Cousin on top
Foiling Week - Moth Class Italian Open Championship Day 2
America's Cup: Luna Rossa foiling in AC45s at their Italian base
Star World Championship - Germans claim dramatic win in Malcesine
PWA Awaza World Cup - Down to the wire in Turkmenistan
Route Halifax Saint-Pierre - Off to France!
Nacra 17 Europeans - La Grande Motte back in Olympic classes arena
Stena Match Cup Sweden - Hansen hat trick in Marstrand + Video   
Route Halifax Saint-Pierre Race keeps an eye on Arthur   
World Match Racing Tour: See the Finals replay at the Stena Match Cup   
Newport International Boat Show unveils exciting 'At The Helm' Program   
Stena Match Cup Sweden - First blood to Hansen over Canfield + Video   
Star World Championship - Americans claim race win in Malcesine   
PWA Awaza World Cup - Weather halts action on day 4   
Clipper Race - Henri Lloyd wins OneDLL Cup into Den Helder   
Clipper Race - Close match racing in closing stages of the OneDLL Cup   
Volvo Ocean Race: Spanish play catch-up with under 100 days to go   
World Match Racing Tour: Catch the live action at the Stena Match Cup   
Finn Junior Worlds - Battle for the Jorge Bruder Silver Cup   
Mobiles drive traffic - 72% increase in Sail-World.com page view *Feature   
British Open Dragon Championship finale at Royal Lymington preview   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Phuket is ready to host   
PWA Awaza World Cup - Valerie Ghibaudo hits back on day 3   
Star World Championship - Hard fought win on day 4 + Video   
Stena Match Cup Sweden - Action-packed match racing + Video   
Oceans of Hope yacht arrives in Portsmouth   
Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Registration details   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT