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Posts Tagged "Antarctica"

The Artful Amoeba

Defrosted Moss Sprouts Anew After 1,500 years in Antarctic Permafrost

moss_core_signy_antarctica_Convey_200

Last year I blogged about the surprising discovery that mosses released after 400 years of frozen glacial ensquashment had managed to survive and sprout new growth, a finding that radically altered our ideas about regrowth during the retreat of ice ages. Now, a new study in Current Biology pushes that back at least a millennium [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Glass Sponges Poriferify — and Beautify — Impoverished Antarctic Neighborhood

glass_sponges_Larsen_Fillenger_et_al_200

Glass sponges are taking over a newly sunlit strip of Antarctic marine real estate at a blistering clip, surprising biologists who had no idea they had it in them. And what’s in them, it turns out, is also fairly astounding. The story, as was widely reported last month, is this: Although more than 30% of [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

When You Think “Hydrothermal Vents”, You Shouldn’t Think “Tube Worms”

octopus_vent_Antarctica_PLOS_200

In 1977, scientists and the world were shocked to discover the first deep-sea hydrothermal vent community at the Galapagos Rift in the eastern Pacific (see a great story on this at NPR here). At this site, chimneys spewing black, superheated and chemically supersaturated water towered over fields of blood-red tube worms encased in white sheaths, [...]

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Expeditions

An Intrepid Look at Winter with Climate Scientist and Adventurer Felicity Aston

Felicity Aston is a British adventurer, climate scientist and STEM advocate, who in 2012 became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica. At 23, Felicity left the UK to spend three years living and working in the Antarctic as a meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey at Rothera Research Station. On her return, she was part of [...]

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Expeditions

Heading home

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the 20th of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles." The entire camp let out a sigh when the last survey [...]

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Expeditions

Skiway silence

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the nineteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA–The camp skiway is a three-mile long strip [...]

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Expeditions

Suspended animation

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the eighteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—For much of the past two months, our [...]

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Expeditions

Line by line

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the seventeenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—Weather pinned us down most of the time [...]

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Expeditions

A picture is worth a thousand words

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the sixteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—Since we first conceived this project, we have [...]

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Expeditions

At AGAP camp at last

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the fifteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA —Yesterday morning the sky at the South [...]

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Expeditions

Rising frustration

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the fourteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." THE SOUTH POLE — We are now 10 days behind schedule. [...]

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Expeditions

Kicking rocks

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the thirteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA — Last Saturday, we had a flurry of [...]

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Expeditions

Running into an invisible wall

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the twelfth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles."   McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA–The British group had been acclimatizing at South [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Signs Of Life From Lake Vostok

The bottom of the world (Reuters)

Recent efforts to extract a water sample from the ancient sub-surface Antarctic Lake Vostok seem to be yielding some promising results. Russian scientists now claim detection of previously ‘unclassified’ microbial organisms. On January 10th this year Russian scientists reported that they had extracted an ice core from over 3,600 meters depth – containing what was [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Lake Vostok Water Ice Has Been Obtained

Vostok (Reuters)

Break out the vodka. The first confirmed sample of water from the subsurface Lake Vostok in Antarctica has been retrieved. Almost a year ago, in February 2012 Russian scientists and engineers drilled to a depth of nearly 4,000 meters in the ice above Lake Vostok – a 1,300 cubic mile volume of liquid water thought [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Lake Vostok is (Almost) Breached After 20 Million Years

Satellite composite showing location of Vostok within the Antarctic continent (NASA)

Two and a half miles beneath the surface of Antarctica’s central Eastern ice sheet is a body of water 160 miles by 30 miles across known as Lake Vostok, after the Vostok research station above it, built by the former Soviet Union in 1957 and now operated by Russia. Even by Antarctic standards it’s a [...]

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Observations

Found: The Coldest Place on Earth

Thermometer 277x277

The record had stood for nearly 30 years: minus 128.6 degrees F (-89.2 ˚C), recorded a few meters above the ground at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica. It was the coldest temperature ever sensed on Earth. Not any more. Researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., announced [...]

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Observations

Scientists Find First Neutrinos from Distant Space [Video]

IceCube

The world has heard the first faint whispers of the most powerful cataclysms in the universe. Scientists working on the IceCube experiment in Antarctica report that they have found 28 neutrinos that must have come to earth from explosions in the distant universe—the first time scientists have found neutrinos coming from outside our own solar [...]

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Observations

Supernova Dust Fell to Earth in Antarctic Meteorites

Antarctic meteorite

Two primitive meteorites collected in Antarctica appear to contain grains of silica—the stuff of quartz and sand—forged in an ancient supernova that predates the birth of the solar system. In fact, some researchers believe that it was just such a stellar explosion that triggered the formation of the solar system from a cloud of dust [...]

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Observations

Climate Paradox: Longer Antarctic Melt Season May Mean Less Global Warming

Glacier ice shelves breaking up in the Antarctic

Normally, the news that Antarctica’s summer melt season is getting longer might just be added to an endless compilation of scientific evidence that confirms the reality of global climate change. A recent research report, though, seems to run counter to the conventional wisdom. It shows that if the ice pack at the bottom of the [...]

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Observations

Animal Tracks: Music about Unusual Creatures Features Some Unusual Instruments [Video]

dugong, underwater photo

Michael Hearst seems to enjoy making music with a purpose. About five years ago the Brooklyn, N.Y., musician made headlines with a pretty self-explanatory record called Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. Since then, he and his band One Ring Zero have released an album-long ode to the planets (including Pluto), as well as a record [...]

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Observations

Penguin Groups Use Physics to Avoid the Crush and Keep Warm [Video]

emperor penguin wave

With thousands of Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) huddled close together for warmth on the ice sheets of Antarctica, there seems bound to be some competition for a toasty spot near the middle. But these enormous clusters manage to bring each penguin in for a chance to warm up—all without causing a dangerous crush. How do [...]

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Observations

Frozen Antarctic lakes yield new viruses

viruses antarctica

In the chilly depths of one of Antarctica’s freshwater lakes, a surprising number of novel viruses thrive. Researchers braved frigid temperatures to collect water samples from Lake Limnopolar, located on Livingston Island near the Antarctic Peninsula, and sequenced the genomes of the collected species. The new genetic study reveals some 10,000 species of viruses from [...]

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