Antarctica Expedition To Explore Underwater Ecosystem Hidden For 120000 Years

Antarctica Expedition To Explore Underwater Ecosystem Hidden For 120000 Years

After the massive iceberg calved off the Antarctic continent in July past year, it revealed a mysterious marine world beneath it. Because this icy society has been uncovered by a split in Antarctic ice, it's only a matter of time before the local ecosystem changes dramatically based on its new environment.

When A-68, a trillion-ton iceberg the size of DE (or ten Madrids or two Luxembourgs, whatever you want to call it), parted ways with the Antarctic Larsen-C ice shelf in the summer of 2017, it was the largest recorded calving in history.

The A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth. Observers had been awaiting its break for more than six months. This iceberg existed above the seafloor for thousands of years. Their findings are expected to provide a picture of what life under the ice shelf was like so that changes to the ecosystem can be tracked.

Katrin Linse, who is leading the team for the upcoming expedition, said they want to explore the water as early as possible so that they can study the ecosystem before sunlight starts changing the undersea environment.

It is no secret that exploring and studying the marine world beneath ice shelves comes with many risks and is expensive in the process.

"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.

The researchers will spend three weeks from February to March aboard the RRS James Clark Ross ship, navigating the cold waters to reach the remote Larsen C ice shelf, from which a 2,240 square-mile iceberg broke off. And as long as sea ice stays clear of the path they plan to take, the three-week mission will get started February 21.

The team will have the mission to observe the natural marine animals habitat and the iceberg's rupture effects on the marine life. The team will also be collecting microbes, plankton, sediments and water samples from the depths.

The team will also record any marine mammals and birds that might have moved into the area. What they do know comes from similar calving events in the past: Chunks of ice broke off the Larsen A and B shelves (located north of Larsen C on the Antarctic Peninsula) in 1995 and 2002, respectively. While many things happening in Antarctica, including calving or melting of the ice, is attributed to climate changes, calving of this particular iceberg likely occurred naturally, according to the scientists. The first video of A-68 released The first video of the iceberg can be seen below.

Related Articles