The scientists told reporters the story of the Ellsworth Trough probably goes back about 80 million years, when what we now know as Antarctica broke apart from a single, giant continent. As the land mass moved toward the South Pole, the rifts and chasms froze over.
While the researchers say the discovery gives insight into what the West Antarctic ice sheet could look like in a warmer global climate, the study's lead author, Neil Ross, added a personal reflection, saying: "This just goes to demonstrate how little we still know about the surface of our own planet. The discovery and exploration of hidden, previously unknown landscapes is still possible and incredibly exciting, even now." (Via NASA, Newcastle University)
The paper is in the January issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.
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