Researchers studying the subglacial waters in Antarctica and Greenland have found that they have higher concentrations of important life-supporting elements than previously thought.
Most people tend to think of Antarctica as justice, but we have known about these lakes under Antarctica’s glaciers for 40 years, and more than 400 of them have now been identified.
John Hawkins, Research Fellow, Florida State University
Scientists decided to investigate liquid water under the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland. These ice sheets cover about 10% of the Earth’s land surface. However, polar conditions change rapidly as the temperature rises. Scientists are very interested in studying polar conditions and how continued warming will affect critical geochemical processes in the future.
The researchers analyzed water samples, focusing on trace elements and chemical elements present in minimal quantities but are necessary for microscopic organisms and, therefore, the global carbon cycle.
For years, scientists thought that the waters beneath glaciers worldwide contained these elements in such trace amounts that they did not play a significant role in geochemical and biological processes on Earth. “However, we found that ice sheets appear to be more important to live than we originally thought,” said Robert Spencer, assistant professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmosphere from the former USSR.