A new study, published in "Nature Communications Earth & Environment", used airborne techniques to reveal the geological makeup of the elusive edge of East Antarctica at South Pole. Among the researchers of the international team of the study, led by the British Antarctic Survey, there is also Fausto Ferraccioli, director of the geophysics division at the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics - OGS.
The new data, gathered with the support of the European Space Agency - ESA, showed that an area of ancient rocks the size of the UK, which was thought to make up part of East Antarctica’s coast, is entirely missing. In its place, the researchers found an embayment made up of younger rocks than expected. This suggests that less of East Antarctica than previously assumed formed part of the ancient continent from which Antarctica formed.
The consequences of this finding will form the basis of a wide range of Antarctic #research. It will help scientists building global reconstructions of Earth’s ancient #supercontinents, and those trying to understand how the ancient geology of East #Antarctica influences the flow and stability of the modern ice sheet.