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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/7/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists in Antarctica discover an icy mystery.

Scientists using radar to peer underneath the Antarctic ice shelves have located massive channels cut into the ice deep below the surface. The find is a surprise to scientists who are interested in learning more about the incredibly large channels.

This diagram from Popular Science shows the massive scale of the ice tunnels.

This diagram from Popular Science shows the massive scale of the ice tunnels.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/7/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Antarctica, ice, cave, cavern, eiffel tower


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's the stuff of science fiction. Scientists probing beneath the ice sheet in Antarctica discover a complex of tunnels burrowing deep beneath the ground. Why are the there, and more importantly, who or what created them?

The amazingly huge tunnels were discovered by a British team using an airplane with ground-penetrating radar to look beneath the ice.

The tunnels are very large, being described as arching 820 feet high, but still far under the depth of the ice sheets that cover Antarctica. At that height, the Eiffel tower could stand inside the channels and a river could flow inside them.

In fact, a river may be the creative force behind the channels which are thought to be running through the tunnels, carving them out.

Scientists say they now believe that meltwater flows under the ice through these channels instead of flowing evenly underneath the ice sheets in a continuous layer. By flowing through one spot, they carve out massive caverns under the ice shelves and may play a role in the eventual breakup of the ice.

Researchers now want to see where these channels empty into the ocean, believing they will find massive rivers of freezing water flowing into the ocean from under the ice.

Since the discovery is new many questions remain but they will certainly form the basis for future attempts at research.

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