Discovery of ‘hidden world’ under Antarctic ice has scientists ‘jumping for joy’

Researchers discovered schools of shrimp-like amphipods while exploring an underground river in Antarctica. (Image credit: NIWA/Craig Stevens)

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A never-before-seen ecosystem lurks in a subterranean river deep beneath Antarctica’s icy surface. Researchers recently brought this “hidden world” to light, revealing a dark and craggy cavern filled with swarms of tiny shrimp-like creatures.

The scientists found the secret subterranean habitat hidden beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf — a massive, floating sheet of ice attached to the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula famous for the birth of the Larsen Ice Shelf the largest iceberg in the world in 2021. Satellite photos showed an unusual groove in the ice shelf near where it meets land, and researchers identified the distinctive feature as an underground river, which they described in a expression (opens in new tab). Using a powerful hot water hose, the team drilled about 500 meters below the ice surface to reach the underground chamber. Discovery of ‘hidden world’ under Antarctic ice has scientists ‘jumping for joy’

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