Science - Earth
Wintertime flow of Blood Falls caught on camera for the first time
Researchers have caught a wintertime release of brine from Blood Falls on camera for the first time, but the exact cause of the curious phenomenon remains a mystery.
Antarctic fossils shed new light on the lives of ancient amphibians
Fossils of extinct amphibians found in Antarctica are helping paleontologists reconstruct how these ancient creatures once roamed the planet and understand how life evolved in the wake of Earth's largest mass extinction.
Antarctic ice shivers from distant earthquakes
Antarctica is the most remote continent on Earth, but new research shows it is still connected to what happens in the rest of the world. A new study finds large earthquakes can cause ice on the slopes of Antarctica's Mt. Erebus to quiver and vibrate, even when the quake happens thousands of miles away.
Tapping Erebus's Power
The heat given off by Antarctica's Mount Erebus could help power instruments monitoring the volcano, giving scientists a way to study Erebus's lava lake during the long polar night for the first time. Researchers have found a way to harness the heat from the magma underneath Erebus and turn it into electricity that can power scientific instruments.
Cold, hard iron is on the move. Particles of the ferrous metal are trickling into Antarctica's oceans, and marine algae are gobbling it up.
Listening to Rock Music
Rocks are cracking up all over Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys. Though it may take hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years, the slow but inevitable processes of weathering eventually reduce all rocks into sand or even clay.
Digging For Fishies
The mountains of Antarctica may seem an unlikely place to find fish, but they were exactly what a team of paleontologists working along the edge of the Polar Plateau last winter were looking for. In a region now defined by dry rocky terrain poking up through vast sheets of thick ice, the five-member team spent much of December and January scouring the exposed landscape for the remains of ancient fish.
The Dry Valleys' Briny Deep
Hunting for groundwater has come a long way from divining rods in the days of yore. This past austral summer, scientists in Antarctica used a sophisticated and highly sensitive instrument to look for water in one of the continent's driest regions.
Researchers Release the Highest Resolution Antarctic Map Ever Produced
Researchers at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Polar Geospatial Center in September released the biggest and most detailed map of Antarctica ever produced.
A Chemical Detective Story: Why is Don Juan Pond So Salty?
During winter, nearly everything in Antarctica freezes solid. Except Don Juan Pond. Though only about twice the area of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and barely a foot deep, Don Juan Pond is famous for being the saltiest body of water on the entire planet. It is saltier even than the Dead Sea.
Paleo Gondwanaland Was Full Of Lystrosaurs
An expedition studying the aftermath of one of Earth's greatest global extinctions collected hundreds of prehistoric animal fossils from the mountains of Antarctica this past season. Ten researchers spent nearly six weeks camped in the Transantarctic Mountains, collecting fossils that formed following the great extinction at the end of the Permian era.
The Prehistoric Forests of the Frozen Continent
Paleontologists uncovered the fossil remnants of the oldest forest yet discovered in Antarctica. At about 270 million years old, the fossils come from an extinct species of tree known as Glossopteris. The fossils promise to offer paleontologists insights into the prehistoric climate and ecology of Antarctica, and the dramatic ecological changes that were about to sweep across the continent.
Tag! You're it!
A number of Adelie penguins around the Ross Sea are sporting sophisticated new leg bands this year. Ornithologist David Ainley and his team attached new electronic tags to about 150 penguins to record where each penguin goes and how deeply it dives under water. The tagging project ties in with a broader effort that he's been spearheading for 20 years, monitoring Adelie penguin populations and demographics around Ross Island.