sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : East Antarctic rifting triggers uplift of the Gamburtsev Mountains

East Antarctic rifting triggers uplift of the Gamburtsev Mountains

'Schematic showing the proposed rifting processes within the East Antartic Rift System provided the techtonic trigger for uplift of the Gamburtsev Mountains'    British Antarctic Survey ©    Click Here to view large photo

Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province (AGAP) project was funded by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation and was launched in conjunction with the International Polar Year.

The birth of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains buried beneath the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — a puzzle mystifying scientists since their first discovery in 1958 — is finally solved. The remarkably long geological history explains the formation of the mountain range in the least explored frontier on Earth and where the Antarctic Ice Sheet first formed. The findings are published this week in the journal Nature.

A seven-nation team of scientists explored the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains — buried beneath up to 3km of ice — during the International Polar Year (2007–09) by using two twin-engine aircraft equipped with ice penetrating radars, gravity meters and magnetometers.

By analyzing the new data, the researchers describe the extraordinary processes — which took place over the last billion years — that created and preserved a root beneath the mountains and the East Antarctic rift system — a 3,000km long fracture in the earth’s surface that extends from East Antarctica across the ocean to India.

One billion years ago, before animals and plants evolved on Earth, several continents (or micro-continents) collided, crushing the oldest rocks of the mountain range together. This event formed a thick crustal root extending deep beneath the mountain range. Over time these ancient mountains were eroded but the cold dense root was left behind.

Around 250–100 million years ago — when dinosaurs walked the Earth — rifting paved the way for the supercontinent Gondwana to break apart, which included Antarctica, causing the old crustal root to warm. This rejuvenated crustal root, together with the East Antarctic Rift forced the land upwards again reforming the mountains. Rivers and glaciers carved deep valleys and this helped uplift the peaks to create the spectacular landscape of the Gamburtsevs, which resemble the European Alps. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which formed 34 million years ago and covers 10 million km2 of our planet (an area the size of Canada), protected the mountains from erosion.

Lead author, Dr Fausto Ferraccioli from British Antarctic Survey says, 'Understanding the origin of the Gamburtsevs was a primary goal of our International Polar Year expedition. It was fascinating to find that the East Antarctic rift system resembles one of the geological wonders of the world — the East African rift system — and that it provides the missing piece of the puzzle that helps explain the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains. The rift system was also found to contain the largest subglacial lakes in Antarctica.'

Co-author, Dr Carol Finn from US Geological Survey says, 'Resolving the contradiction of the Gamburtsev high elevation and youthful Alpine topography but location on the East Antarctic craton by piecing together the billion year history of the region was exciting and challenging. We are accustomed to thinking that mountain building relates to a single tectonic event, rather than sequences of events. The lesson we learned about multiple events forming the Gamburtsevs may inform studies of the history of other mountain belts.'

Co-author, Dr Robin Bell of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says, 'The next steps will be to assemble a team to drill through the ice into the mountains to obtain the first rock samples from the Gamburtsevs. Amazingly, we have samples of the moon but none of the Gamburtsevs. With these rock samples we will be able to constrain when this ancient piece of crust was rejuvenated and grew to a magnificent mountain range.'

'It is very fitting that the initial results of Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province (AGAP) project are coming out 100 years after the great explorers raced to the South Pole,' said Alexandra Isern, Programme Director at the National Science Foundation. 'The scientific explorers of the AGAP project worked in harsh conditions to collect the data and detailed images of this major mountain range under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The results of their work will guide research in this region for many years to come.'

These discoveries in central East Antarctica have significant implications for understanding mountain building and ice sheet evolution within continental interiors.

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=91192

11:59 AM Sat 26 Nov 2011 GMT






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


News - USA and the World





















2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4 by William Wagner, San Francisco














































2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level
ISAF Sailing World Championships - RS:X action begins in Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Americans rise in Laser and Radial
Extreme Sailing Series - A remarkable penultimate day’s racing + Video
Marseille One Design - GC32 GDF Suez unstoppable in the light
Rolex Swan Cup - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Images of the leaders in Santander
Rolex Big Boat Series - Good day for Double Trouble
Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2 images by Erik Simonson
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - TP52 fleet ready for tricky race tracks
Rolex Big Boat Series - Plenty maintains lead
2014 Asia Pacific Student Cup - Count down begins
Extreme Sailing Series: Live coverage of Day 3 - view here
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Going away
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Practice makes perfect
2014 J/70 World Championship - Contrasting conditions on Day 4   
Rolex Big Boat Series - 50 years of big boat racing: a retrospective   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2   
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Champ: Rios takes the Championship   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg Zero signals start of the significant racing   
Extreme Sailing Series: Physically demanding racing for BAR on Day 2   
Emirates Team NZ: Holding second overall after Day 2 in Istanbul   
Extreme Sailing Series: A force to be reckoned with in Istanbul +Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Day 1 images by Jesus Renedo and Pedro Martinez   
Marseille One Design: GC32's Armin Strom storms ahead on day 2 + Video   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Racing underway in Santander +Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Erika Reineke claims Radial race win   
Santander Worlds 2014 Mat Belcher (Part II) *Feature   
Rolex Swan Cup - Mistral keeps fleet shoreside   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup rescued by wave of local support   
ISAF Sailing World Championship, Santander - Opening ceremony images   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Team Alvimedica geared up for Leg Zero   
J/70 World Championship 2014 - Healy surfs into lead   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 1   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Gripping first day on the Bay   


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