Antarctica Information

Our next class project will involve a mini research essay on the frozen continent of Antarctica. We will take information from several sources to understand why people travel to such a harsh place.

 Read this brief introductory article to start off:
KidInfoBits: Antarctica

Here's a great website for exploring Antarctica more in detail:
Polar Discovery from the Woods Hole Institute

And here's another great website for exploring information about Antarctica from the National Science Foundation:
NSF in the Antarctica

And of course, there needs to be a video from Tim and Moby of BrainPop!
BrainPop: South Pole

Check out this website of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, the organization that helps make sure Antarctica is kept safe and peaceful for scientific research:
ATS - Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty

Time For Kids has a great site about Antarctica that includes articles, pictures, news stories, and videos to explore:
Time For Kids: Antarctica

Here's a few interesting videos about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean from National Geographic:

This video from National Geographic may not play on an iPad--Try your desktop computer.

Here is a brief summary of the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959

Here's a video called "Destination Antarctica

This is a great show called Race to the South Pole, about Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott both trying to be the first explorers to reach the South Pole in 1912.

Here's a travel video focusing on the sights of Antarctica

And here's a video tour of the South Pole research station!

And just for fun, here's a preview of the PBS show about penguins and the robot camera in a penguin/furbie suit
Here's a cool article from the BBC about a scientist that is using a hot water drill to look for life in a lake that is more than 3km UNDER the ice.

Antarctic lake mission targets life and climate signs
 By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

Weather at the site can be stormy, requiring protection for people and gear

Related Stories
    •    Map tracks Antarctica on the move
    •    Ice loss quickens, raising seas
    •    Clue to ancient Antarctic seaway

A pioneering British expedition to sample a lake under the Antarctic ice hopes to find unknown forms of life and clues to future climate impacts.

The mission will use hot water to melt its way through ice 3km (2 miles) thick to reach Lake Ellsworth, which has been isolated from the outside world for at least 125,000 years - maybe a million.

The team hopes to be the first to sample a sub-glacial Antarctic lake.
An engineering team leaves the UK later this week along with 70 tonnes of gear.

The project, funded to the tune of £7m by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, aims to obtain samples of the lake water itself and of sediment on the lake floor.

 The heavy equipment has to be airlifted in to Antarctica, followed by a long trek over land

"Our project will look for life in Lake Ellsworth, and look for the climate record of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," said the project's principal investigator Professor Martin Siegert from Edinburgh University.

"If we're successful, we'll make profound discoveries on both the limits to life on Earth and the history of West Antarctica," he told BBC News.

Understanding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is crucial to forecasting future climate change impacts, as it holds enough ice to raise sea levels globally by at least 3m (10ft) and perhaps 7m (23ft).

Exploring sub-glacial lakes may also help scientists design missions to search for life on other worlds such as Jupiter's moon Europa, which is thought to feature a liquid ocean beneath a thick layer of ice.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

1. A hot water drill will melt through the frozen ice sheet, which is up to 3km (2 miles) thick. After drilling, they will have an estimated 24 hours to collect samples before the borehole re-freezes

2. A probe will be lowered through the borehole to capture water samples

3. A specialised corer will then recover sediment from the floor of the lake through the same borehole

Source: Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium


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