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49 votes
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Is there sand in Antarctica?

Yes. In fact, there are sand-dunes in Antarctica [1:15].
Christopher Klaus's user avatar
39 votes
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I just read news that Antarctica had set a new record high temperature, above 18 °C. How can this be the case if it is currently winter there?

You just read the news too fast. WMO announced that, after evaluation by a committee, they have validated the 18.3°C temperature recorded in February (i.e., in summer) last year: GENEVA, 1 July 2021 (...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
16 votes
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How and when people first realized that Antarctica is a continent?

The idea of a southern continent is older than the actual discovery of the Antarctica. There was an expectation of the possible existence of a Terra Australis balance the global landmasses and the ...
user2821's user avatar
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15 votes
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How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

Such forms tend to be created by glacial activity, which, ahem, the ice-covered continent is known for. Much discussion of this in the related question in Skeptics: Are there three pyramids in ...
jeffronicus's user avatar
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14 votes

Is there sand in Antarctica?

This LiveScience article suggests the areas aren't major: The scant areas that are free of snow and ice make up less than 0.4 percent of the continental land mass. In places there, the wind has built ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
9 votes

Are Ice Ages Affected by the Freezing Out of CO2 in Antarctica?

The freezing point of carbon dioxide is -78.5C. The temperature at which carbon dioxide sublimates is not a fixed value. It instead is a function of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide. That value ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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9 votes
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Have russian drilling operations in lake Vostok succeeded yet?

The Russians did "succeed" to reach the water at borehole 5G-2 in 2012. However, the lake water flooded into the borehole due to overpressure, and refroze. They drilled again during the next campaign ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
9 votes
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Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

Ice floats with gravity towards lower elevation, the flow continues until the base of the ice sheet becomes floating and the ice forms an ice shelf or icebergs. Due to the subglacial topography, ...
user2821's user avatar
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8 votes

How and when people first realized that Antarctica is a continent?

Probably the first recorded observation (and certainly one of the first) of the Antarctic mainland was of the Trinity Peninsula, part of the Antarctic Peninsula, by Edward Bransfield in 1820. Even ...
Pont's user avatar
  • 5,429
7 votes

How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

That mountain is mount Evans (3,950 m), located in the Sentinel Range in inner Antarctica (S 78.30698°, W 85.91698°), the highest mountain range in the continent. (Map courtesy of @KeithMcClary see ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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6 votes

How do glaciers move? Could Antarctica be separated?

Glaciers move by two processes: Internal deformation Basal sliding This figure (made for my candidacy exam), exemplify both processes as if we were following a single block of ice within a glacier: ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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6 votes

How do glaciers move? Could Antarctica be separated?

Glaciology is a large field of research, and I cannot include all aspects in a short answer. I'll try to give some concepts that can help you in your understanding of the cryosphere. Glaciers are, ...
user2821's user avatar
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6 votes
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Giant Cavern the Size of Manhattan Under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica

The cave is created by warm water, so the ice has been replaced by the water. It is common to find areas under the front of glaciers that have been melted away by warm water. Warm water here means ...
trond hansen's user avatar
  • 1,886
6 votes

Why is McMurdo Station in Antartica more hostile than Longyearbyen (Norway), while Longyearbyen is closer to the pole?

The lack of oceanic and atmospheric currents going into and around Antarctica from equatorial latitudes means that much less heat is transported from the tropical latitudes to Antarctica compared to ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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6 votes

I just read news that Antarctica had set a new record high temperature, above 18 °C. How can this be the case if it is currently winter there?

Supplemental to Jean-Marie Prival's answer: The February 2020 event was already discussed here in a question posted the same day this went public: What is the second thermometer in the image from the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,042
5 votes
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Why is McMurdo Station in Antartica more hostile than Longyearbyen (Norway), while Longyearbyen is closer to the pole?

As to the questions of the flights: McMurdo is about 3.500 km from the next airport (Dunedin in southern New Zealand), while Longyearbyen is only 950 km from Tromsø. It simply is due to the distance ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 756
5 votes
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What are these radial line patterns shown in representations of antarctica?

I can't be sure, but I strongly suspect that the radial lines in the first two images are the result of a bug in the software used to draw the map, probably resulting from vector polygons that are ...
Semidiurnal Simon's user avatar
4 votes
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Is it coincidence that Antarctica is centered on the south pole?

It's an interesting thought. Antarctica is not so balanced as it might appear on the maps. East Antarctica is old, consisting probably of cratons and Proterozoic orogenic domains whiles West ...
user2821's user avatar
  • 5,946
4 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

An interesting point to consider comes from your assumption of a constant rate of precipitation. Many earth system processes have non-trivial stochastic variations (or high-dimensional chaos). ...
Z W's user avatar
  • 432
4 votes

What is the strength of the Earth's magnetic field at McMurdo Station, Antarctica?

According to the current World Magnetic Model 2015 v2 (new one to be released on 10 December 2019!), ...
mkennedy's user avatar
  • 735
4 votes
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Does Antarctica have a lot of aquifers?

Yes. So far as aquifers are concerned, Antarctica is just like any other continent. The Ice is 4 kilometres thick in places, but at the bottom there is water. If there is any place where water is not ...
Michael Walsby's user avatar
4 votes
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Giant Cavern the Size of Manhattan Under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica - how was satellite and airborne radar data combined?

The paper basically combines multiple datasets to figure out the changes in ice surface elevation and ice thickness at tidal and multi-year timescales. That way they were able to study grounding line ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
  • 17.7k
3 votes

Are Ice Ages Affected by the Freezing Out of CO2 in Antarctica?

During an ice age little CO2 will reach the arctic,it will be absorbed by sea water in all the oceans,This will create a positive feedback,lower CO2 level in the atmosphere will make it even colder so ...
trond hansen's user avatar
  • 1,886
3 votes
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Is "Chasm One" the really the name of this feature on the Brunt Ice Shelf?

Is "Chasm One" an "official" name for the feature? No. This is only an informal name used to designate a rift structure (fracture) in the Brunt Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. For ...
Paleocene's user avatar
3 votes

Is there sand in Antarctica?

The simple answer is: of course. Sand is defined as a lose granular material with grains between 0.074 and 4.75 mm diameter (US definition) or 0.0625 to 0.2 mm (Wentworth, 1922, scale). There is also ...
Peter Jansson's user avatar
3 votes

Antarctica Exploration

What would you have an Antarctic rover do? How would you protect it from falling down a crevasse, some of which are totally obscured? What would you like to be found in Antarctica? Yes, Antarctica is ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.8k
3 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

There is a balance between precipitation on the one hand, and sublimation and outflow on the other. Ice evaporates directly to water vapor, especially during the summers. The thicker the ice, the ...
Jack Denur's user avatar
2 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

According to "Ice Sheet Modeling" ice behaves as a deformable plastic material, which means that there is a critical shear stress, below which no strain (deformation or flow) will occur ... If ...
Keith McClary's user avatar
2 votes

Dataset for expected sea level rise in case of massive meltdowns (Greenland/Antarctica)

You should try to use the equations and maps presented by Mitrovica et al., (2011), entitled On the robustness of predictions of sea level fingerprints. In this paper they present the history of sea ...
f.thorpe's user avatar
  • 13.8k

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