News Science

The Volcanic Caves of Antarctica might be the home for mysterious animal and plants species

A steaming fumarolic ice tower above "Sauna Cave" at 3,550 meters on Mt. Erebus, Antarctica. Heat from magma (molten rock) in the volcano melts the snow and ice beneath the ice towers forming caves and tunnels. As the air temperatures are typically colder than -30°C the water vapor freezes into towers of ice. At this latitude and altitude, the ice never melts. The towers can grow over 15 meters high until they become unstable and collapse under their own weight or are blown over. Photo was taken near midnight on the week of the last sunset for many months.

Have you ever thought of life existing inside the warm caves beneath the Antarctica’s ice? Well, recently, according to a new study, a team of Australian researchers has discovered that some secret and unknown species of plants and animals might be living inside those warm caves and if it is true, then this can indeed be a very soothing and cosy environment to have.
Researchers have told that Mount Erebus, an active volcano that is present on the Ross Island in Antarctica, is being surrounded by some cave systems which are hollowed out through steam. The forensic team has got some exciting samples of DNA from algae, mosses and some small animals, from the caves.
The lead researcher of the study, DR Ceridwen Fraser, from the Australian National University, Canberra, has informed that Most of the DNA that was obtained from the warm caves was similar to that of the other plant’s animals present in Antarctica. This discovery has indicated that many unknown or new species of plants and animals might be living inside these warm caves present beneath the large ice in Antarctica. Although these areas are trapped under huge Antarctic Glaciers, those caves might provide with ideal temperatures for a comfortable environment with a perfect blend of temperature as said by the researchers.
Fraser also added that the temperature might go up to 25 degree Celsius inside these caves and you can wear a t-shirt inside it. Also, it is observed that light is present the mouth of the cave and also some lights go deeper inside some caves where the ice is thin. But the recently discovered traces of DNA do not provide full proof information about the presence of unknown plants and animal species inside the caves, but still, scientists think that a more intense research might give them some more satisfying results.
But the discovery has certainly given some hints about the presence of an exciting new world. Finding out the possibility of life in the most difficult regions of the world is truly an astonishing thing. These findings will support the notion that geothermal areas including subglacial environments can nurture biodiversity in glaciated regions, as said by the researchers in the study that was published in the journal Polar Biology.

Around the World

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

You Might Also Like