Tags: antarctica | seafloor | exposed | After 120 | 000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120,000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

Image: Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120,000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

View from the sea ice to iceberg A68 in November 2017, just months after the berg calved from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf in July. (NASA)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 February 2018 07:34 AM

Antarctica's sea floor was exposed for the first time in 120,000 years after a giant iceberg broke off. Now scientists are rushing to get a look at what kind of marine life existed under all that ice for so long before today's climate affects it.

About 2,246 square miles of seabed was opened after the Larsen C Ice Shelf broke free from Antarctic last July, according to the British Antarctic Survey, which is leading an expedition to the area starting this week, Live Science reported.

The survey said its expedition will collect seafloor animals, microbes, plankton, sediments, and water samples using video cameras and a special sledge pulled along the seafloor.

It also will record any marine mammals and birds that might have moved into the area after the shelf opened it up.

Glaciologists and remote sensing specialists will be following the now floating Larsen C Ice Shelf while the Antarctic survey examines the sea floor. A team from University of Leeds is investigating the changes in ice structure after the calving.

"The calving of A-68 provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change," said marine biologist Katrin Linse of the Antarctic survey.

"It's important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonize. We've put together a team with a wide range of scientific skills so that we can collect as much information as possible in a short time. It's very exciting."

"The calving of A-68 offers a new and unprecedented opportunity to establish an interdisciplinary scientific research program in this climate sensitive region," said in a statement.

"Now is the time to address fundamental questions about the sustainability of polar continental shelves under climate change,” said David Vaughan, science director with the survey. “We need to be bold on this one. Larsen C is a long way south and there’s lots of sea ice in the area, but this is important science, so we will try our best to get the team where they need to be."

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Antarctica's sea floor was exposed for the first time in 120,000 years after a giant iceberg broke off. Now scientists are rushing to get a look at what kind of marine life existed under all that ice for so long before today's climate affects it.
antarctica, seafloor, exposed, After 120, 000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off
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Wednesday, 14 February 2018 07:34 AM
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