Ancient Mountains Discovered Deep Beneath Antarctic Ice

Today scientists announced they had discovered mountains and valleys buried deep beneath antarctic ice, which is now rapidly melting away (pictured). The land revealed has remained untouched for 14,000,000 years. You know what that means.

The Alps-like landscape revealed with cutting-edge imaging technology is a reminder that the Antarctic was once a thriving biosphere. That's why HP Lovecraft set his famous short story "At the Mountains of Madness" in an Antarctic mountain range hidden by snow, which had once held a thriving civilization. There's nothing like digging up 14,000,000 year old mountains if you want to find some weird alien life. According to a news report on the findings:

The imaging comes from a gruelling effort by Chinese glaciologists to probe the mysterious realm beneath the East Antarctic heights, one of the most forbidding places in the world.

In 2004-5 and again in 2007-8, the team hauled deep-penetrating ground radar around a box-shaped sector, measuring 30 kilometers (18 miles) by 30 kilometres, at a point called Dome Argus, or Dome A.

Dome A lies at 4,093 metres (13,302 feet) above sea level and has an average annual temperature of -58.4 degrees Celsius (-73 degrees Fahrenheit).

Beneath it is an ice sheet between 1,649 and 3,135 metres thick that smothers the Gamburtsev mountains, a range named after a Soviet geophysicist, Grigoriy Gamburtsev, who detected the peaks in 1958.

The radar reflections revealed "classic Alpine topography" similar to Europe's Alps, showing that once there were river valleys that cut their way through the mountains.

Later, these valleys were gouged and deepened by glaciers.

"The landscape has probably been preserved beneath the ice sheet for around 14 million years," says the paper.

Guillermo Del Toro was at one point going to direct a version of "At the Mountains of Madness," though the project seems to have fallen by the wayside. Maybe this discovery will reawaken his interest.

Via AFP