By: April Carson
While the "forgotten" continent is not Atlantis, the find will rewrite Earth's geologic history as we know it.
The European Space Agency's gravity mapping satellite, through which scientists were able to peer beneath Antarctica's Ice and map the terrain below, has revealed remnants of long-vanished continents beneath Antarctica's thick ice sheets. They discovered a long-forgotten terrain littered with cratons—extant internal parts of our planet's crust that are remnants of ancient landmasses.
The continental remnants are pieces of Earth's lithosphere, which comprises the crust and upper mantle. They are generally found at the center of modern continental plates, and studying them in depth allows geologists to understand how our world evolved over time and how it will develop further.
The finding was made possible by the European Space Agency's Gravity Field and Stable-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite, which was launched in 2009 to measure Earth's gravity strength.
A morphed world hiding lost continents
The GOCE gathered information until 2013, after which it broke up near the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Fortunately, the ship's enormous quantity of data was saved, and researchers have made effective use of it.
To be more precise, as scientists used GOCE data to explore what lies beneath Antarctica, they utilized gravity mapping data to map the seafloor.
"These gravity pictures are revolutionizing our ability to study the least understood continent on Earth, Antarctica," co-author Fausto Ferraccioli, a British Antarctic Survey science leader in geology and geophysics, added.
According to the researchers in Scientific Reports, they utilized GOCE data to examine how quickly gravity's acceleration changes as well as irregularities/differences in Earth's vertical and horizontal components of gravity.
They created three-dimensional pictures of Earth's plate tectonics and cratons by combining seismic data with planetary knowledge.
A craton is a young and stable section of the continental lithosphere, where the crust and uppermost mantle are the Earth's two top layers. Cratons are generally found in the interior of tectonic plates, owing to their frequent survival of continental mergers and rifts.
“We observed an exciting mosaic of geological characteristics in East Antarctica that reveal fundamental similarities and distinctions between the crust below Antarctica and other continents it was connected to until 160 million years ago,” Ferraccioli added.
The results of the 3D scans suggest that parts of West Antarctica have a significantly thinner crust and lithosphere than East Antarctica, which has a ‘family resemblance to Australia and India.'”
Much of the interior of East Antarctica is made up of remnants of land that was formerly part of Gondwana, a long-forgotten "supercontinent" that covered an enormous 39,000,000 square miles.
The continent of Antarctica, which covers almost 90 percent of the planet's surface, is nearly entirely enveloped with two kilometers of ice. Studying such cases allows us to better comprehend the rich and enormous history of Antarctica while also demonstrating that there is a lot more to discover beneath the Ice.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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