As the last unexplored wilderness in the world, Antarctica is shrouded in secrets that scientists and researchers are trying to solve. To date, it is known about the 14 most fascinating mysteries of the Great White Continent.
It is hard to imagine anything under the thick layers of ice in Antarctica, but scientists have discovered several underground lakes.
Scientists believe that the lakes formed after the separation of Antarctica from Gondvanald, an ancient supercontinent. Lakes do not freeze due to ice pressure.
Deep Lake is an inland lake in East Antarctica that has fascinated scientists for years. The lake is 55 meters below sea level, and with increasing depth, the salinity of the water increases. Salt water is comparable to the Dead Sea and ten times more saline than the ocean. This means that the water does not freeze, despite the temperature reaching -20C at the deepest point.
In the McMurdo Dry Valley, a bright crimson five-story waterfall spills from the Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonnie. It looks like a rush of blood from a wound in the ice, but scientists have recently discovered the cause of this mysterious phenomenon.
The water that feeds Bloody Falls was once a salt lake, which is now cut off from the atmosphere due to the formation of glaciers on top of the lake.
Antarctica is a barren, icy desert with very little rain, strong winds and the coldest temperatures on earth (the coldest recorded temperature was -89.4 ° C); yet it is also home to many unique wildlife. There are microbes, crustaceans, giant squids, transparent icefish, long-legged spiders the size of dinner plates, giant worms with shiny golden bristles and a large jaw with sharp teeth.
Ancient fossils and rainforests
Antarctica is an ancient land that has undergone some incredible transformations over millions of years. Before Antarctica became an icy desert after the ice age, it was actually a warm region with rainforests and possibly even civilizations. The theory arose from the discovery of a petrified tree, signs of tropical trees and leaf prints that show the existence of tropical forests in Antarctica. Scientists have also discovered a ton of fossils of marine animals, birds and Cretaceous dinosaurs.
Gamburtsev mountain range
Antarctica holds many secrets under its vast ice sheets – even a massive mountain range. Gamburtsev mountains are hidden under a layer of ice from two to four thousand kilometers thick. They stretch for 1200 kilometers and rise to 3000 meters, which is one third of the height of Everest.
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in Antarctica. Its thickness is several hundred meters and covers an area of more than 500,000 square kilometers – the size of France.
Scientists have recently discovered that Ross’s ice shelf sings an eerie melody caused by winds blowing through the snow dunes. Winds create surface vibrations and almost non-stop seismic tones.
In 2017, a hole the size of Ireland was discovered in Antarctica. Known as wormwood, this hole is not new – with the exception of a span of 78,000 square kilometers, it is the largest hole seen since the 1970s.
Mount Erebus is a natural wonder, with liquid magma and ancient lava lakes that boil for about 1.3 million years. It is the southernmost active volcano in the world and the second largest volcano of Antarctica, whose height reaches 3800 meters.
The Southern Ocean was named the fifth ocean in the world in 2000. It is the fourth largest ocean in the world that surrounds the entire continent of Antarctica.
Dry McMurdo Valley
The thought of the desert usually conjures up images of hot sandy plains, but Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. It is incredibly dry and windy, with only 50 mm of precipitation per year, while 99% of the continent is covered with ice. Dry valleys have a climate similar to Mars, and scientists believe that this region may contain the secrets of life on other planets.
Many microorganisms and extremophiles were found in Antarctica, including endemic species of fungi.
Antarctica is a golden field for meteorites. Although meteorites can fall all over the earth, they are easier to find in Antarctica because cold and dry conditions retain rocky fragments.
In 2013, a group of Japanese and Belgian scientists discovered the largest meteorite found in East Antarctica in the past 25 years. Extraterrestrial stone weighed 18 kilograms. The team searched for meteorites for 40 days, finding 425 meteorites with a total weight of 75 kilograms. The discoveries included a piece of the asteroid West and a meteorite from Mars.
Aliens, Nazis and the lost city
Antarctica is a breeding ground for secrets, and over the years it has had its share of conspiracy theories. From elongated skulls and strange pyramids to alien spaceships, bizarre structures and giant stairs, many people believe that extraterrestrial life once lived in Antarctica (or still exists). The secret of Antarctica is kept deep beneath its surface, where no one has entered before. They say that the lost city of Atlantis is hidden under kilometers of ice.
It is possible that the civilization of Atlantis existed in Antarctica, but it remains to be proved that the continent is the site of the legendary lost city. It is also believed that the Nazis used underground Antarctica as a secret refuge, and some believe that Hitler fled here after the war. Hitler had a passion for occultism, and he was looking for something in Antarctica – the Germans built a station in Antarctica – but it was abandoned 70 years ago after the crew was poisoned by polar bear meat. The Great White Continent is the most obscure and inexplicable corner on Earth, and despite the dedicated efforts of scientists around the world, people may never know all its secrets.