By Ryan BradleyPosted 01.04.2012 at 11:01 am 14 Comments
This month, Russian scientists will nearly reach the waters of Lake Vostok, which have been sealed more than two miles under Antarctica’s surface for at least 15 million years. If all goes well, the drill will never touch the fragile ecosystem.
A prolonged chill in the atmosphere high above the Arctic last winter led to a mobile, morphing hole in the ozone layer, scientists report in a new paper. It's just like the South Pole hole we all studied in school, but potentially more harmful to humans — more of us live at northern latitudes. Here are five things you need to know about it.
When icebergs break off into the polar seas, scientists usually have to work backwards to figure out why--they try to piece the clues together to figure out what caused an event that already happened. But in March, NASA scientists were able to follow the wake of the Japan tsunami over 8,000 miles, through the Pacific and Southern Oceans, until it snapped off several icebergs from Antarctica--icebergs that together are about as big as not one but two Manhattans (the island, not the drink).
Winter has stymied a Russian-led effort to drill into an Antarctic lake that has been buried for 14 million years, scientists said this week. Just 96 feet short of their goal, scientists had to put their tools away and wait out the rapidly approaching Antarctic winter. But they don't want to lose the progress they've made so far, so they're pouring kerosene down the borehole to keep it from freezing.
An oxygen-rich lake, unreachable for the past 14 million years and buried beneath a thick sheet of ice, is about to be penetrated by a drill bit from a faraway place. It’s possible that special life forms have adapted to live in this extreme environment, and scientists hope to learn more once they can analyze water samples.
Imagine a telescope array that exceeds the height of the Empire State Building, the Chicago Sears Tower, and Shanghai's World Financial Center combined. That's what astronomers are piecing together about a mile beneath the ice at the South Pole. But this telescope isn't aimed at the sky -- it points to the center of the Earth.
This month, an iceberg roughly the size of Luxembourg slammed into an Antarctic glacier known as the Mertz Ice Tongue. Then, last week, a Rhode Island-sized section of the Mertz Ice Tongue finally snapped off. Some scientists are excited about the new research opportunities this ice reconfiguration opens up, but others worry that the newly freed ice will significantly threaten life in the ocean.
Two mechanics on a remote outpost build a “snow chopper” out of salvaged parts
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 02.04.2010 at 2:57 pm 7 Comments
In the desolate environment of Antarctica, when mechanics Bob Sawicki and Toby Weisser weren’t at their jobs maintaining a fleet of snowmobiles at the U.S. logistics hub there, they passed the time by building a motorcycle-like snow vehicle out of junked parts and trash. As government employees, they were forbidden to use any new equipment on their side project. Instead, they got the engine and track from a totaled 1981 Ski-Doo Elan and, with the exception of nuts, bolts and fuel hoses, everything else from savvy dumpster diving.
A massive iceberg twice the size of Manhattan is headed for Australia's southwestern coast, threatening shipping lanes in the Pacific.
The "superberg," called B17B, is roughly 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia and headed for warmer waters, where it will likely break up into many small pieces.