Scientists have positive news about Antarctica. A hidden ecology has been discovered to be thriving under the frozen surface. This "secret planet" beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf has been discovered by researchers. The video shows a dark cavern-like place filled with swarms of small, shrimp-like critters.
The Larsen Ice Shelf is a vast sheet of ice that floats while linked to the Antarctic Peninsula's eastern shore. Satellite pictures show that the strange groove where this ecosystem was discovered is a subterranean river.
The study team delved over 1,640 feet (500 meters) below the ice's surface to locate this hidden habitat. They utilized a strong hot-water pipe to reach the subsurface chamber for this drilling. A camera was sent down this boring tube and took video of numerous tiny, hazy particles in the water.
These floating specks were not a result of a camera malfunction. These were small crustaceans known as amphipods, which the researchers did not expect to find so deep beneath the surface.
"Having all those species swimming about our camera suggests there's certainly a significant ecological activity going there," Craig Stevens, a physical oceanographer at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Auckland, New Zealand, said.
Researchers have also discovered an unusual characteristic in the water column. The subsurface water was divided into four or five different strata that flowed in opposite directions. "This modifies our present knowledge and models of these settings," Stevens explained. "We're going to have our job cut out for us understanding what this means," he continued.
Scientists said they will continue to investigate the newly-discovered subterranean biosphere. They'll also look at how nutrients move via Antarctica's subsurface water networks.