Solved puzzles of the Antarctic mountains

Mountain range is a relic of a former broad plateau

Transantarctic Mountains. © NOAA
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It is 3.00 kilometers long and one of the most formative landscapes of the Antarctic - the Transantarctic Mountains. But when and how this mountain range was created, was not known - until now. Scientists have gained revolutionary new data on the geology of the Antarctic, which among other things also clarify the origin of the mountain.

As reported by the scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the University of Columbia in the journal "Geology", the mountains appear to be the relic of a once gigantic plateau, which began to expand and thin out around 105 million years ago. The peaks at the edges of the plateau have been preserved and today form the Transatlantic Mountains.

New understanding of Antarctic evolution

Transantarctic mountain range from the air. © NOAA

According to the researchers, the new study, supported by analyzes of rock samples and geophysical measurements, could fundamentally change the understanding of Antarctic evolution. Previously, several hypotheses were discussed in professional circles that described how the mountains might have grown.

But the current data point to a more reversed path: instead of growing from the surrounding land in the air, it is rather remains of a large reduction. The isolated mountain peaks, which were increasingly exposed to the weather, were subsequently eroded by glaciers and other environmental factors and ultimately received their current form.

(The Earth Institute at Columbia University, 20.07.2007 - NPO) Display