The Gamburtsev mountains were discovered by a Soviet expedition using seismic sounding. They were named after Grigoriy A. Gamburtsev (1903-1955), a Russian geophysicist. The BEDMAP consortium; project managed by British Antarctic Survey, produced the best subglacial map of Antarctica to date…
An Antarctic mountain range that rivals the Alps in elevation will be probed this month by an expedition of scientists using airborne radar and other Information Age tools to virtually “peel away” more than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) of ice covering the peaks.
The LiveScience article doesn’t explain why the mountain range should not be there. Sciencepoles has a bit more explanation from Dr Robin Bell:
The fact that there are mountains at all in the middle of the East Antarctic landmass constitutes something of a mystery. It’s really like finding a mountain range in the middle of a beach. There really shouldn’t be mountains there.
- The first hypothesis is that Antarctica is in fact made up of two landmasses that collided 540 million years ago, forming the Gamburtsev in the process, and that the mountains have remained remarkably preserved because somehow their rock composition has impeded erosion.
- The second idea is that the same two pieces of Antarctica collided more recently than we thought, meaning that Antarctica isn’t a stale, old continent as was previously supposed.
- And the third idea is that there may be a volcanic plume (or hot-spot) beneath East Antarctica – in essence a giant volcano beneath the ice sheet which is what has formed the Gamburtsev Mountains.
I’m puzzled by the regularity of the grid pattern of these mountains in the image above. The yellow area under the word “Mountains” looks more artificial than natural.