A team of researchers explored the Ross Antarctic Ice Shelf over three months. The researchers employed a hot-water drill to reach a depth of 740 meters, gaining access to an area which is known as the Grounding Zone. Samples have been recovered from the area, and an advanced marine camera was used to explore the ecosystem formed by unknown life forms.
One of the researchers who contributed to the study was impressed by what has been observed. He mentioned that the main objective was to observe how the ice layers evolved over time. The lower layers appear to be very mobile, and there is constant activity near the bottom and their many creatures that are present there despite the impressive depth.
The Antarctic Ice Shelf Houses A Never-Before-Seen Ecosystem
It is clear that there are enough nutrients to sustain the creatures. Samples that have been collected during the drilling process have also revealed valuable information as many sensitive areas can be influenced by the dynamics of ice and the speed at which it melts.
Previous research has already shown that ice will tend to melt even at extreme depths, and the team believed that they could learn more about the way in which ice reacted to higher temperatures in the past. As the current melting rate is quite fast-paced, some differences could be observed, but that remains to be seen.
More than 1,000 scientists are present on the Ross Ice Shelf, which is located in the southernmost area of the South Pole. The temperatures recorded in this area can go below 90 degrees Celsius, but the researchers endure the problematic conditions since they are interested in the potential discoveries that could be made. Ice samples, animal fossils, and traces of plants have been found in abundance in the past, even more, could be found in the future. More data can be found in an article published in a scientific journal.