Researchers from New Zealand have discovered an amazing hidden world of marine life 500m below the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in a huge cathedral-like cave
Image: NIWA / Craig Stevens)
A hidden world of sea life has been discovered 500m under the ice in Antarctica with shrimp-like creatures in a huge cathedral-like cave.
New Zealand scientists found the exciting new ecosystem beneath the Ross Ice Shelf while studying the effects of global warming in a suspected estuary.
Researchers from universities in Wellington, Auckland and Otago, the National Institute of Water and Atmospherics (Niwa) and Geological and Nuclear Sciences drilled through the ice shelf and into the river below.
After sending a camera down, they were surprised to see tiny swarming amphipods, organisms that are in the same family as lobsters and crabs, the reported To express.
Niwa’s Craig Stevens said: “For a while we thought there was something wrong with the camera, but as sharpness improved we noticed a swarm of arthropods about 5mm in size.
NIWA / Craig Stevens)
“We’ve done experiments in other parts of the ice shelf and thought we had things covered, but this time there were big surprises.”
He added that while exploring climate change is an important aspect of the study, the team also has a discovery element.
“We were jumping up and down because all these animals swimming around our gear means there’s clearly an important ecosystem there,” he continued.
The estuary was first discovered by project lead scientist Huw Horgan of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington after spotting a groove in the ice while studying satellite imagery of the Ross Ice Shelf.
Scientists were already aware of the freshwater lakes and rivers beneath the frozen continent, but these hidden features had not yet been studied directly.
NIWA / Craig Stevens)
“Observing and tasting this flow was like being the first to enter a hidden world,” Horgan said.
Researchers left instruments in the river to study its behavior.
Interestingly, they were able to capture the changes during the massive eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.
After the eruption, the instruments detected a significant change in pressure caused by the tsunami making its way through the cavity.
After seeing the impact, Mr Stevens said it shows how everything in the world is connected to the eruption so far from Antarctica.
“Here we are, in a forgotten corner of the world, seeing real-time impacts of events that felt worlds away. It was quite remarkable,” he said.
Tonga, an underwater volcano that erupted in January, triggered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake.
The quake sent tsunami waves to the coast of the Pacific island, which has been blanketed in ash and cut off from aid.
Waves from the tsunami reached as far as California, while evacuation warnings were issued in Australia, Japan and the US.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/antarctic-researchers-stunned-find-hidden-27173773 Antarctic explorers stunned to discover 'hidden world' beneath ice - World News