More Than Meets the Eye

Antarctica appeals to the explorer spirit with its challenging terrain and captivating wildlife. But it also calls out to the curious as the site of much research and discovery. It’s a place that has led scientists and academics to have a better understanding of Earth’s ever-changing environment.

Every photo of Antarctica depicts ice, glaciers and icebergs as far as the eye can see. But beneath the layers of ice and snow lies the boundless discovery of canyons and valleys that none would have imagined. Through the collaborative efforts of scientists throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the US, they’ve found how much ice exists in Antarctica’s valleys and how deep they go.

Perhaps most interesting is the canyon found below the Denman Glacier. Extending 11,500 feet below sea level, it is now the lowest natural point discovered on land. It surpasses even the previously lowest point in the Dead Sea of the Jordan Valley.

With the use of advanced radar technology, scientists were finally able to see far enough beneath Antarctica’s ice to find the canyon beneath Denman Glacier. Sending out pulses of microwave radiation allowed them to map out the terrain beneath the dense ice sheets. Their research started with records from over 50 years ago and turned to the principle of mass conservation to fill in the gaps.

The theory of mass conservation states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, and if left alone from outside interference, it remains unchanged. This makes the landscape under Antarctica’s ice a closed system and teaches scientists about the movement of ice across the continent. This discovery could lead researchers to better understand the effects of climate change.

Since its initial exploration, Antarctica has played a vital role in scientific research. Through the Antarctic Treaty, several countries came to an agreement to establish research stations south of the 60-degree South latitude, but none of them claim ownership of the land. It’s a combined effort to preserve and study the land in hopes to further humanity’s understanding of the way our world works.

Join us on a luxe-adventure expedition to Antarctica to explore the Seventh Continent as expedition leaders guide you through field interpretations.

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