Antarctica, Ice

We know that 98% of Antarctica is covered with thick ice and the average temperature ranges from -10 degree Celsius to -55 degree Celsius. This means that it is very difficult to sustain life in those extreme weather conditions. But now, it is found out that life is possible beneath Antarctica’s ice. Researchers have discovered a warm and potentially habitable oasis present under those thick ice sheets of Antarctica

A volcano located near Mount Erebus has created a hollow system of ice caves where the temperature can astonishingly go up to 25 degree Celsius. The mixture of two extreme conditions that is the Antarctica’s cold and the Volcano’s heat might have resulted in such a cosy and soothing environment inside those warm caves.

Lead researcher Ceridwen Fraser along with her colleagues from Australian National University found some shocking details about the warm caves while conducting forensic studies of soil inside the caves. They got traces of DNA from algae, mosses and small animals although they could not see any animals or plants inside those caves at that time.
But still researchers believe that suitable warm conditions inside those caves might be habitable for many plants and animal species, and also there are chances that some new species of plants and animals might also be living inside those warm caves. Fraser said that one such DNA sequence was much similar to that of Arthropods which indicates that some insects like spiders or mites might be present inside those cosy caves.

Another team member, Professor Laurie Connell from the University of Maine has also warned that although the discovery is extremely exciting but finding DNA traces of unknown species does not completely mean that creatures are still living in those caves. As strong winds blow across Antarctica now and then, hence this might have made those plants and animal traces flow into those caves. So, it is essential that the research about those discoveries should be intensified and more and more places of Antarctica need to be explored to get some strong evidence about the possibility of life beneath Antarctica’s ice. The research study was recently published in the journal Polar Biology.

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