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Scientists have discovered some terrifying things in Antarctica that have changed our understanding of the region. Here are 15 of the most significant discoveries:
1. Underground lakes: There are around 400 subglacial lakes beneath Antarctica’s ice. The largest, Lake Vostok, was discovered in the 1990s, and scientists have discovered entire ecosystems consisting of microorganisms and signs of life in these lakes.
2. Rainforests and fossils: Scientists have discovered fossilized wood, tropical trees, and leaf impressions that prove the existence of rainforests in Antarctica before it became a frozen desert following the Ice Age.
3. Singing ice: The Ross ice shelf, the largest in Antarctica, makes an eerie sound due to winds blowing across the snow dunes. The shelf produces seismic tones that scientists describe as sad and melancholic.
4. Ice holes: Cryokonite holes, made up of ice and dust particles, form when warm salty water from the sea melts the ice beneath them. These holes can make it look like the land is collapsing on itself.
5. Alien life: Scientists discovered bacteria from another planet in the stratosphere over Antarctica.
6. Volcanoes: Researchers have discovered two active volcanoes beneath the ice in Antarctica. One of them is erupting and causing the melting of the surrounding ice.
7. Meteorites: Antarctica is a hotspot for meteorites, and scientists have discovered several rare meteorites in the region.
8. Ghostly neutrinos: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica detected a high-energy neutrino in 2017. It was the first time scientists had detected a neutrino from outside our galaxy.
9. Iceberg B-15: The largest recorded iceberg, B-15, broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000. It was 295 kilometers long and 37 kilometers wide.
10. Ancient viruses: Scientists discovered viruses that have been dormant for 15,000 years in two ice samples from Antarctica.
11. Polar stratospheric clouds: These clouds play a role in ozone depletion over Antarctica and are visible during the winter months.
12. Endurance shipwreck: The remains of the Endurance, the ship used by Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 expedition, were discovered in 2022 beneath the Antarctic ice.
13. Unexplored mountains: There are unexplored mountains beneath Antarctica’s ice that could rival the Alps in size.
14. Mysterious ice holes: In 2018, researchers discovered strange ice holes in the Weddell Sea that were more than 3,000 meters deep and perfectly round.
15. East Antarctic ice sheet: A study in 2021 revealed that the East Antarctic ice sheet, previously thought to be stable, is losing ice at an accelerating rate.
These discoveries have led scientists to believe that Antarctica holds many more secrets that could change our understanding of the world.