Antarctica’s past in the eyes of satellites

The GOES satellite, launched in 2009, has become an important tool in the geological study of Antarctica. Thanks to the data obtained by the device, geologists were thus able to determine that an entire section of the ice continent was missing, providing visibility into the past of this little-explored region.

what’s hidden under Coat Ice-covered Antarctica? Many people ask themselves this question. geologists, as the sixth continent made of ice is little explored and generally unknown. But a study by researchers working on the PolarGap mission, published in Nature Communications Earth and Environment It states March 9, 2022 that a mission in To revolve around satellite powered bass goose revealed that part of East Antarctica, which has an area equal to that of the United Kingdom, is missing. Instead, the massif of the same name has Pensacola Bay. European Space Agency (esa) published as a statement Clarifying the details of the PolarGap study.

a continent under the ice

Antarctica’s Extreme Weather Conditions Make Exploration Expeditions On This Huge Mass Of ice and snow, the area of ​​which is 14 million square kilometers. Inland, temperatures can sometimes drop to -60 °C, causing particularly difficult areas,

Lesser known, Antarctica remained a geological mystery until then. But GOES’s data collection allows us to learn more about its lower layers. south poleunder the encouragement of British Antarctic Surveybased on a British organization polargap mission, Its members conducted an observational expedition based on GOES with the aim of providing additional information on the topography and geological formation of Antarctica.

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The researchers found that an entire section of Antarctica no longer existed, having been replaced by a vast coastal bay. Geologists suggest that the Pensacola Basin is composed of smaller rock than expected and that much of East Antarctica may have “broken up”. Tom Jordan, geophysicist et British Arctic SurveyESA explains in the press release that ice is the reason for this disappearance of part of the continent. transfer eventOr the formation of a fault in the area where the Pacific Ocean formed, about 650 million years ago.

go to report

Gravitational Fields and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (explorer of gravity Ocean Circulation), which was launched by ESA on 17 March 2009, aims to study the Earth’s gravitational field. Goce is equipped with three tools to complete his missionearth observation : a reflector lasera receiver GPS As well as a gradiometer. The latter allows the probe to detect variations in the planet’s gravitational field according to the acceleration and deceleration of the device. Thanks to these instruments, ESA was able to unveil the first geoid of Earth in 2010, making it possible to visualize the distortions caused by Earth’s gravity.

The data from the GOSE and PolarGap missions are a major step towards understanding the history of Antarctica. More generally, the researchers say the study, published on March 9, should make it possible to analyze in detail K births. some continentsAt a time when the map of the Earth was far from what it is today.

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