Nobody on Earth has ever seen what lies beneath the vast Antarctic ice sheet - the greatest unknown region of our planet after the deep oceans. Our current knowledge is based on remotely gathered information from geophysical surveys and informed guesswork!
What we do understand is that the land mass of East Antarctic forms a very old "shield" similar to that of central Australia, southern Africa and India.
Indeed, it was geographically connected to these other continents prior to some 60M years ago when Antarctica formed a central piece of the former super-continent called Gondwana.
Mapping through the ice sheet using radar has revealed a landscape of major mountain belts, smaller massifs and extensive basins - very much like other continents. But we can only speculate on the age, origin and history of this area that is critical for understanding the evolution of our planet.
This is the fifth of six articles by Professor Drewry. Click here for the last installment.
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