300 meters deep: descent to the bottom of the Antarctic Ross Glacier

(ORDO NEWS) — Antarctica’s glaciers are for the most part an unexplored area, especially when it comes to what’s underneath. Seeing the interior of a glacier is a rare opportunity, and today you have it. Today we will look into the Ross Glacier.

What is the Ross Glacier and how was it discovered?

The Ross Glacier is considered to be the largest ice shelf in Antarctica. Its shape resembles a triangular plate, and the thickness on different sides ranges from 183 meters (in the coastal zone) to 1300 meters (from the land side).

At the same time, the glacier covers an area of ​​at least 542,344 km2, which is much larger than the area of ​​Spain and slightly smaller than the territory of France.

The famous captain James Cook became the pioneer of Antarctica. However, he never managed to see the entire mainland.

This was done by another, no less famous traveler – Captain James Clark Ross. He managed to pass through the ice of Antarctica, discovering the sea and island that were later named after him, as well as the ridge that Ross named after Queen Victoria.

Antarctica seemed to the traveler completely impregnable. Coastal peaks of ice, the height of which reached 60 meters, could at any moment collapse on Ross’s wooden ship. However, during a trip to Antarctica, Ross managed to discover a fairly large ice shelf. Much later, he received the name of the great traveler.

300 meters deep descent to the bottom of the Antarctic Ross Glacier 2
The ice of the large and small Antarctic glaciers adjacent to it is constantly nailed to the Ross Ice Shelf. Some of them depart from the Transantarctic Mountains. However, the largest amount of ice is brought with it by glaciers sliding down from Mary Byrd Land

The Ross Glacier differs from all other glaciers of the same type not only in size. The fact is that he knows how to swim – periodic ebbs and flows easily lower and raise the glacier.

At the same time, large pieces of ice often break off from it, which then wander through the water expanses of the ocean. The area of ​​the largest iceberg of this kind was 31,080 km2, which is several times larger than the area of ​​Belgium.

Exploring the Ross Glacier

In February of this year, New Zealand scientists decided to drill a well in the Ross Ice Shelf. It’s part of a study that climate scientists are trying to understand what’s going on in Earth’s shrinking ice caps. The Ross Ice Shelf is a huge area, the size of France, but we don’t fully know what’s going on underneath.

That is why representatives of several universities in New Zealand drilled a 300-meter well in the glacier and lowered the camera into it. The result is a mesmerizing video that truly feels like a journey into the unknown.

The study is being conducted to measure the temperature of the water under the Ross Glacier. There is a hypothesis that now it is warmer than in the 70s of the twentieth century, when the last measurements were taken.

Judging by the study data , this hypothesis is confirmed, which in theory can lead to catastrophic consequences for both the glacier itself and the ecosystem as a whole. However, further research is needed to understand how the Ross Ice Shelf is responding to this increase in temperature.

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