Expedition Sets Off for Antarctic Mountains That "Shouldn't Be There"

By Eliza Strickland | October 15, 2008 1:12 pm

Antarctica landscapeAn international team of bundled-up scientists will soon set off for Antarctica‘s interior in a quest to learn about the continent’s most massive and mysterious mountain range; although the Gamburtsev mountains are as high and mighty as Europe’s Alps, even the tallest peak is buried beneath 2 miles of ice. Now, during the southern hemisphere’s summer, the researchers will investigate how the Gamburtsevs formed in a place where scientists say no mountains should be.

American researcher Robin Bell, who will be making the trek, explains that there are two “easy” ways to form mountains, and neither makes sense in Antarctica: “One is colliding continents, but after they collide they tend to erode; and the last collision was 500-million-plus years ago…. The other way is a hotspot, [with volcanoes punching through the crust] like in Hawaii; but there’s no good evidence for underneath the ice sheet being that hot. I like to say it’s rather like being an archaeologist and opening up a tomb in a pyramid and finding an astronaut sitting inside. It shouldn’t be there” [BBC News].

The Gamburtsevs were first detected by a Russian survey mission in the 1950s, but little research has since been done on the mountains due to the challenges of working in such extreme conditions. Researchers will sleep in field camps beneath the midnight sun and will be exposed to temperatures as low as -40 Fahrenheit. The team will use surface and airborne instruments to probe the depths. Ice-penetrating radar, gravitational and magnetic sensors, and seismic technology will be used during the 2½-half [sic] month project to build a three-dimensional picture of the hidden peaks [Sydney Morning Herald].

In another part of the mission, researchers will look for sites where they can drill down to take samples of the continent’s ancient ice. Scientists can study the bubbles of carbon dioxide and methane trapped in the ice, and can determine past temperatures and climate conditions by the concentration of gases and the ice’s chemical composition. British researcher Fausto Ferraccioli says: “..we will hunt for ice that is more than 1.2 million years old. Locked in this ancient ice is a detailed record of past climate change that will assist in making better predictions for our future” [Telegraph].

Related Content:
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Image: flickr/elisfanclub

  • Eric

    2½-half month project? is that like 2.75?

  • aven king

    lets hope its a set of giant pyramids.

  • Doug Gibson

    ‘Acceptable’ science cannot figure it out because only REAL science explains it; that is, alternative science (not pseudo-science). For instance, Tiwanako in Peru used to be a sea-port and now its ruins are on one of the highest elevations in the Altiplano. In human history the mountains were formed and what was once at sea level was thrust up high where breathing is difficult and plants do not grow well. Old liners scratch their heads trying to figure out how the ancients transported megaliths to such elevations. Once Stephen Gould and others opened the door to catastrophism, it was the beginning of the end for uniformitarianism and a narrow-minded scientific hegemony that still exists. BTW, there is no ocean crust older than late Jurassic (if we trust that label) and sea-floor spreading is just as evident in the Pacific. The coasts of Australia and South America fit just as perfect as the coasts do in the Atlantic. The great extinctions are due to the separation of the continents and the creation of the present oceans.

  • Damian

    “I like to say it’s rather like being an archaeologist and opening up a tomb in a pyramid and finding an astronaut sitting inside. It shouldn’t be there”

    I see that she read “At the Mountains of Madness”. And she’s still going?!

  • Scott

    Question, how is “acceptable” science not real sceince? Your opinion of what to believe as far as scientific techniques and such may differ from others, it doesnt make them any more or less wrong than you may be. Also wouldnt them saying in the article, “One is colliding continents, but after they collide they tend to erode; and the last collision was 500-million-plus years ago?. The other way is a hotspot, [with volcanoes punching through the crust] like in Hawaii; but there?s no good evidence for underneath the ice sheet being that hot.” basically rule out catastrophism in this instance?

  • Presto

    I totally agree with Doug. The explanation of the mountains can be reconciled if the Earth Crustal Displacement model is applied. Charles Hapgood, Einstein and Immanual Velikovsky all thought this to be a real mechanism, and one that could explain a myriad of geological and archaeological phenomenon. Uniformity suggests those mountains have been there for eons, whereas crustal displacement would suggest that continents collided in a far more recent time frame, thrusting rock up and dragging the mountains into what is now the polar south. What was once the south moves into a warmer climate, the ice melts and the smooth rock lay bare, with giant boulders that were once moved by ice drift.
    I’m willing to bet they will find marine fauna in the stratigraphic layers within the rocks, as well as a mountain that has faced erosion even though it remains frozen. Uniformity alone cannot explain such cases, and Catastrophism can’t either. Both occur.

  • Henry Wysmulek

    Hello, the mountains are actually there, regardless of what your B.S. theories say can or cannot be true.

    What is happening to science, when reality is wrong, and the academic classroom theories are always right? What happened to the science of looking at reality and then applying theories that actually fit the facts?

    How can we sit here in our own arrogance and deny reality because it does not fit our currently held beliefs?

    Are these people scientists or priests in some fanatical religion?

  • Mason

    I believe science will confirm my theory which is that the mountain range formed due to plate tectonics with associated volcanic activity much like the Cascade mountain range in western North America, experienced erosion, and during the Pangaea break-up, Antarctica with its impressive mountain range migrated to its present position via plate tectonics. Therefore, volcanic activity ceased. I doubt that catastrophism played a role and the key evidence that supports or refutes my theory should be the age and fossil record of the mountains, assuming the team of scientists collect sufficient samples to support their conclusions.

  • iontruo2

    The repositioning of Antarctica via ‘Plate Tectonics’ was being taught formally in my high school Geology class back in 1983. I have recently read that pole shifts occur, which is different from a pole flip and that about 6 locations of the previous North Poles have been located a this point. Not sure if this article above is really the dumb down science crowd or just bad media with a week article.

  • Richard Wright

    There was a shift of the earth’s crust about 13,000 years ago and the north pole relocated from the middle of Hudson’s Bay, as noted by other respondents.

    Aspects of certain mountain ranges on the earth were created when the last crustal shift occurred (Charles Hapgood). As one respondent said, Lake Titicaca used to be at about sea level (13M years ago) and now it is at about 13,000 feet elevation. Land above or at the earth’s equator at the time of the last crustal shift (north to south) either rose or dropped in elevation due to the effect of the bulge of the earth’s circumference at the equator.

    The next crustal shift will be induced by the ice mass over Anarctica. The shift will be from south to north and land south of the equator will rise and land in the vicinity of the equator will drop in elevation.

    Who knows where previous crustal shifts occurred but eons ago, the land mass at the position of Anarctica today may have been closer to the equator and those mountain ranges could have been raised then.

    Mountain range formation is a caused by a combination of plate tectonics and crustal shift, which makes the whole subject complex. When two forces are behind the creation of something, it is difficult to figure out how each plays its role.

    There’s so much to say about this topic … mind boggling


  • Presto

    Mason suggests in his response, that a confirmed date on the age of the fossils found within the strata would repudiate or confirm his explanation. The problem is that, if Earth Crustal Displacement has played a key role in the relocation of the continents over the eons, which Immanual Velikovsky so elogantly showed in his ‘Earth in Upheaval” book, then the dating method used in geology and the other fossil disciplines would have to be re-evaluated. This would then assume that the fossil record can be shortened, so that what would, based on conventional geology and archaeology, be assumed to be millions of years old could in fact be thousands of years old. We know that prior to the end of the ice age there were massive animals walking the earth, and that around the same time an enormous extinction occured which coincided with the migration of animals, and humans. Both groups do not just up and migrate for no reason, only something catastrophic could initiate this.
    In the last decade we have gone from a time line that brought the Ice Age on, from thousands of years to decades, and now to months. What mechanism could have caused this? Where do fossils come from? How come no new fossil has been created since the end of the last Ice Age? If the doctrine of Uniformity is correct, then the same mechanisms that exist today have always existed. Slow and gradual formation and change. Today if it rains and an animal or human walks over the muddy bank, in 2 hours that print will have washed away. Only under catastrophic situations could the vast amounts of fossils have been created. Silt and sand washing over prints, and not to mention that so many prints found are animals or humans running, and predator and prey side by side.
    Uniformity asks us to see the history of life as being one slow gradual progression, where A was primitive and B is advanced. Prior to Uniformity, Catastrophism reigned supreme through the Church. Uniformity was a reaction to Catastrophism and eventually took the pedestal as the cheif paradigm. We have now come far enough from its genesis that we can clearly see that Uniformity alone cannot explain a myriad of problems the disciplines face. I believe it is time to search somewhere in the middle of Uniformity and Catastrophism, any extremist view is bound to contradiction.

  • vega

    why does the military occupy both poles.cause theres no such thing as the poles-the earth is hollow and the poles are actually openings into the interior of the inner earth.THEY TELL YOU ABOUT THE HOLLOW EARTH IN THE MOVIES.hellboy 2 the golden army is inside the hollow earth-middle earth-lord of the rings -journey to the center of the earth-jules vernes and general byrds famous but suppressed trip into the hollow earth funded by the military in the early 1920’s…HOLLOW EARTH-ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING SUBJECTS OUT THERE.

  • Justin H

    there is another theory of continental drift which I read which could shed new light on the subject. Imagine the Earths crust is a loose or floating skin which can move all at once, not just separate plates. Perhaps this could explain the most recent “ice age” – the earths crust slips, (due to the processional shift of the north pole which goes through a complete revolution every 26000 years or so) and present day north america ends up in a sub arctic latitude, at the same time antarctica also shifts north leaving its frozen latitude for warmer northern waters. This could easily explain the mountains – as the continent could end up on a hot spot where the mountains could have formed in a relatively short time (geologicaly speaking)

  • Presto

    Justin H, that’s the Earth Crustal Displacement theory, proposed by Hapgood and then utilized withint Velikovsky’s work in “Earth in Upheaval”. If your interested i HIGHLY recommend Earth in Upheaval, its an intellectual landmark and one that Einstein was in the position to back up before he died. Continental Drift is the slow movement of the continents over the mantel over eons, Crustal Displacement is the rapid movement.

  • Kay Sun

    Tin Foil Hats.

    Get Your Tin Foil Hats Right Here.

    Don’t Let The Government Beam Signals Into Your Head And Download Your Thoughts.

    Once again typical internet d***heads talking about unproven theories as if they are fact, so a proven scientific method like carbon dating is incorrect or there is a conspiracy??? Yes that has to be the answer.

    Occam’s Razor, This simplest answer is usually the correct one, Simplest answer your bloody crack pots!

    Goodday :)

    [Moderator’s Note: This comment has been edited for profanity.]


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