Evolution of Rocky Oases in East Antarctic: Study by Indian Scientists

Introduction Antarctic is an awe inspiring coldest, windiest and the most inaccessible continent on the surface of the Earth. Most of this continent is covered under a thick mantle of ice except about 2 per cent of the area that shows land exposures (Figure 1). It is from study of such areas that the history of the past events can be built. The ice sheet that covers Antarctic has a history of nearly 30 to 40 million years (Barrett et al. 1992) as the cold spell was initiated during mid Tertiary times when the continent broke away its last umbilical connection with South America through the Nova Scotia Arc. The emergence of circumpolar currents all round Antarctic, further isolated the continent by keeping the warm pool of currents out of touch with the continent. The Antarctic ice sheet is believed to have existed in its present form for more than the past 14 million years (Sugden, et al., 1976). The Polar ice being at a dynamic state moves towards the coastline with a varying rate of movement. The movement faces resistance from the nunataks and ridges that run parallel to the coast producing local topographical highs or lows. The subsurface bed rock geology also determines the relief. The gradual falling level of the Polar ice as it moves northwards, exhibits a raised protruding tongue in...

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