In Antarctica a hidden river, longer than the Tiber – Terra & Poli

Under the ice of Antarctica flows a large river longer than the Tiber, which with its course of 460 kilometers is part of the enormous network of large lakes and rivers, much larger than expected and almost as large as half of Europe. It is not just a curiosity because hidden waterways could play an important role in the melting process of the ice. This is indicated by the study coordinated by Imperial College London and published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“When we first discovered the lakes under the Antarctic ice a couple of decades ago, we thought they were isolated from each other. Now we are starting to understand that there are entire systems over there, interconnected by vast river networks. just as they could be if there weren’t thousands of feet of ice on them, “noted one of the study’s authors, Martin Siegert of Imperial College.

Until now it was thought that, unlike what happens in Greenland, in Antarctica there were not the conditions for the existence of a real network of rivers hidden under the ice. However, using radar systems on board aircraft it was possible to observe deep under the ice and discover a real network with long rivers, one of which is even longer than our Tiber. Understanding the dynamics of melting better is fundamental to predicting the influences on global climate change and sea level: “The region in which this study is based – added Siegert – contains enough ice to raise the global sea level by 4. , 3 meters. How much of this ice melts, and how fast, is related to how slippery the base of the ice is. The newly discovered river system could strongly influence this process. “