American Elephants


Surprising Life Found Underneath Antarctica! by The Elephant's Child

A team of ice-drillers and scientists in Antarctica have bored a hole through 740 meter thick ice of  a back corner of the Ross Ice Shelf — a slab of glacial ice the size of France that hangs off the coastline of Antarctica and floats on the ocean. The remote water they tapped sits beneath the back corner of the shelf, where the shelf meets what would be the shore of Antarctica if there weren’t any ice. The spot where they drilled sits 850 kilometers from the outer edge of the ice shelf — the nearest place where the ocean lies in sunlight that allows tiny plankton to grow and create a food chain. The animals inhabit a wedge of seawater only 10 meters deep sealed between the ice above and a barren, rocky seafloor below. Scientific American reports on the startling discovery.

They lowered a small custom-build robot down the hole they had bored through the ice sheet. They were stunned to find fish and other aquatic animals living in perpetual darkness and cold underneath 740 meters of glacial ice. They had expected to find nothing but possible scant microbial life.

Ross Powell, a 63-year-old glacial geologist from Northern Illinois University co-led the expedition with two other scientists. “I’ve worked in this area for my whole career” he said — studying the underbellies where glaciers flow into oceans. “You get the picture of these areas having very little food, being desolate, not supporting much life.” Yet the ecosystem has managed somehow to survive incredibly far from sunlight, the source of energy that drives most life on earth.

Fish_1_lowrezThis is the first low-resolution image of a translucent fish that they discovered where it seemed no life should exist. The image reveals two black eyes and various organs visible as colored blobs.
Credit: Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling Project   




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