(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the National University of Australia studied the mechanisms of formation and distribution of icy “fingers of death” at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean.
This phenomenon occurs when ice sticks that form at the bottom move slowly and destroy living organisms in their path.
The study was carried out using autonomous underwater vehicles, which were lowered to a depth of about 700 meters.
The devices were equipped with special equipment for collecting data on the physical parameters of water and organic formations.
Scientists have discovered that ice fingers are formed due to the salinity and low temperature of the Antarctic Ocean.
When the water temperature drops, the salinity increases and the water becomes heavier, which leads to the formation of streams moving along the ocean floor.
These currents cause the movement of small ice crystals on the ocean floor, which eventually coalesce into ice sticks.
The currents also carry nutrients that help micro-organisms grow and form ecosystems on the ocean floor.
However, when these ice sticks reach living organisms, they can destroy them, which negatively affects ecosystems on the ocean floor.
Water at a depth close to the freezing point has special properties, due to which specific ice formation processes occur.
The water in this layer has a high salinity, which reduces its freezing point and allows it to remain liquid even at sub-zero temperatures.
Studying these processes provides more insight into climate change and ocean dynamics.
It has also been found that ecosystems may exist in these zones, which depend on the specific conditions that have developed under the Antarctic ice.
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