Antarctica – land of ice, snow and…pine trees???
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science.
Today, Antarctica is a snowy desert. That’s why it’s always colored white on a map! But has it always been this way?
Enter Johann Klages and the Science Team of Expedition PS104. They used a deep sea drill to dig up cores nearly a thousand meters below West Antarctica. What did they find?
With a powerful x-ray, they found a ten foot long network of fossil roots deep below the seabed. These roots were encircled by NINETY-MILLION year old fossilized pollen. Ancestors of our modern pine trees!
Scientists estimate that about ninety million years ago, a lush forest existed near the south pole!
Back then, Antarctica was much warmer. It had very little snow and ice. Today, it’s surrounded by a circular ocean current that keeps it cool. Studying the earth during this warm era could help predict future climates.
Imagine a world map with a GREEN Antarctica! Like Greenland! Or, wait is that Iceland?