Researchers in Antarctica have found a secret world of aquatic life with shrimp-like organisms in a huge cathedral-like chamber 500 metres below the ice.
A team of scientists from New Zealand discovered the fascinating new biosphere beneath the Ross Ice Shelf. According to the UK’s Daily Express, experts were studying at the effects of global warming in an alleged estuary.
After lowering a camera down to the ocean, the scientists were shocked to observe small amphipods flocking together. The amphipods are related to lobsters and crabs in their family.
According to Criag Stevens of NIWA, at first they believed there was a problem with the camera. Later, though, when their concentration was sharper, they were aware of a swarm of 5mm-sized arthropods. Stevens said that although they had conducted trials in other areas of the ice shelf and believed they had the situation under control, they were in for a surprise.
The animals were discovered to have a common ancestor with several aquatic species, including mites, crabs, and lobsters.
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The researchers were taken aback by the unexpected finding since they had intended to investigate climate change but instead came across an unexplored undersea environment. Craig claimed that despite past trials in other ice shelf regions, they had never discovered anything like that.
University researchers from multiple institutions have dug through the ice sheet and into the river. Universities in Wellington, Auckland, and Otago are among the organisations, as are the National Institute of Water and Atmospherics (NIWA), Geological and Nuclear Sciences, and others.
The project’s coordinator, Huw Horgan, noticed the estuary where the marine life was found. Horgan saw a groove in the ice while reviewing satellite images of the Ross Ice Shelf.
According to Horgan, scientists were aware that a network of subterranean freshwater rivers and lakes existed beneath the Antarctic ice sheets. But, he continued, they had not yet been surveyed.
He went on to say that seeing the hidden river was like seeing a hidden aquatic planet that was still frozen.
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