An analysis of 42 million year old fossilised micro-organisms at Hampden Beach, near the Moeraki Boulders in North Otago, New Zealand, suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets.
Back then, New Zealand was about 1100km further south, closer to Antarctica, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America.
But, the researchers found that the water temperature was 23degC - 25degC at the sea surface and 11degC-13degC at the bottom.
"This is too warm to be the Antarctic water we know today," said Dr Catherine Burgess from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
Click here to find out more from Stuff Magazine, New Zealand.
In his new documentary, The Last Continent (opened on Friday in Canada), biologist/filmmaker Jean Lemire notes that in just 50 years the average temperature in Antarctica rose 6 C -- an astonishingly quick increase. "The problem with climate change is the time frame. It's happening way too fast so animals don't have time to adapt," he said.
Click here to find out more.
This beautiful underwater photo is one of Henry Kaiser's, a colleague of Werner Herzog's, the famous documentary maker who's newest film is about Antarctica. It opens in Manhattan on Wednesday, the reviewer notes that:
"If this were a nature documentary like any other, the casual talk about global warming and other calamities might cast shadows across this bright expanse. But there's something about Mr. Herzog -- including the accidental if now well-practiced comedy that colors even his most dramatic pronouncements -- that inevitably keeps his pictures from growing too dark. One reason is beauty, which in his hands has a way of keeping the worst at bay; it is, after all, hard to fully despair in the face of so much of the natural world's splendors. Another reason, I think, has to do with Mr. Herzog's seemingly unshakable faith in human beings, who for all their misdeeds at times reach a state of exaltedness."
We all look forward to seeing it over here before too long, especially as Herzog visits Shackleton's hut
For the New York Times' review, click here.
In the past few years, researchers have noticed that glaciers around the world seem to produce seismic waves that can appear to observers like large earthquakes. The waves generated in Antarctica can be picked up as far away as Australia, but until now no-one has been able to determine their cause.
Between 2001 and 2003, 43 seismographs were peppered across the continent and revealed twice daily seismic waves originating from the Whillans Ice Stream - a river of ice, some 600 metres thick.
It appears that the ice river gets stuck on its slow way downstream and the tide releases it. This is similar to geologic faults, where the two sides of the fault are pushing past each other but friction holds them back. Eventually the pressure becomes so great that the fault slips, triggering an earthquake.
In terms of the energy released by the slip, each glacial quake is the equivalent of a magnitude-7 earthquake.
To find out Douglas Wiens of Washington University, St Louis, US, and his colleagues' hypothesis as to why this happens, or to read more about it, here's the article at the New Scientist.
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