Antarctica: interesting geological structures


EarthSky // Earth, Science Wire     Release Date: Jan 05, 2016
Using technology built to withstand the harsh winters, scientists have managed to map the volcanos, rifts, and basins hidden under West Antarctica’s ice sheet.
Mount Sidley, Antarctica. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
Antarctica has a diverse geological landscape that includes volcanos, rifts, and basins, but much of it remains hidden beneath the ice sheet. With new technology built to withstand the harsh winters, scientists have managed to map the underground geological structures of West Antarctica by measuring the speed of seismic waves passing through the Earth. Their new research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research on December 15, 2015.
West Antarctica is the site of several interesting geological structures including Mount Sidley—the tallest dormant volcano in Antarctica—and the Bentley Subglacial Trench—a narrow, deep feature located within the West Antarctic Rift System. To study the geology of West Antarctica, much of which lies beneath the ice sheet, scientists installed a network of 13 seismic stations and collected data on seismic waves traveling through the Earth for two years spanning from January 2010 to January 2012.
Topography of West Antarctica beneath the ice sheet. Image via Washington University
The seismic waves, which were produced by distant earthquakes along the Ring of Fire, provided the scientists with information about the internal structure of West Antarctica. Seismic waves are affected by several factors as they travel underground including the geological composition of bedrock and the temperature and pressure of the crust and mantle. For example, warmer temperatures tend to slow the speed of seismic waves. Thus, with knowledge of an earthquake’s source and data on the corresponding travel times of seismic waves passing through a particular region, scientists can piece together a picture of the underlying geology.
In West Antarctica, hot anomalies were detected beneath Mount Sidley and the Bentley Subglacial Trench. Mount Sidley is part of volcanic mountain range in Marie Byrd Land, and these volcanoes sit above a hot region in the mantle, the scientists say. The findings for the trench were more surprising to them and may suggest that this area was geologically active rather recently.
Andrew Llloyd, lead author of the paper and graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences program at Washington University in St. Louis, commented on the study in a press release. He said:
    Our understanding of what’s going on is really hampered because we can’t see the geology. We have to turn to geophysical methods, such as seismology, to learn more.
To install and collect data from the seismic stations, Lloyd traveled over 1,000 miles across Antarctica on a snowmobile.
New seismic station at Thwaites Glacier. Image Credit: Mike Roberts.
Douglas Wiens, co-author of the study and professor at Washington University, added that:
    Seismic surveys like this one will help inform models of the ice sheet. Modelers need an estimate of the heat flow, and they need to know something about the geological conditions at the bottom of the ice sheet in order to estimate drag. Right now, both of these factors are very poorly constrained.
In future work, the scientists plan on using the same technology to study the geological structures underneath the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers. These glaciers are located closer to the coast than the area that was mapped in the current research, and they are critical to understanding how surges in Antarctic ice flows could impact sea level rise across the globe. Previous research has documented rapid ice retreat in multiple glaciers from this region of Antarctica, including the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers. The ice retreat, which was measured over 1992–2011, is thought to be a direct result of warming ocean waters. The ice in these glaciers, if discharged to the sea, could raise sea levels by 1.2 meters (4 feet), scientists say.
So far, Lloyd has managed to install 10 new seismic stations in this area of Antarctica, and his team is currently collaborating with British scientists to collect data from even more stations.
Other co-authors of the current paper included Andrew Nyblade, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Richard Aster, Audrey Huerta, Terry Wilson, Ian Dalziel, Patrick Shore, Dapeng Zhao. Funding for this research was provided in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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Calendar day; January 12, 2016

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Tuesday, the 12th of January, 2016 is the 12th day in 2016 and in the 2nd calendar week.
General Events:
Youth Day in India
January 12, 2016 in India
Youth Day in India takes place on January 12, 2016. Youth Day in India is celebrated on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. In 1984, the Government of India declared and decided to observe the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda (12 January, according to the English calendar) as National Youth Day every year from 1985 onwards. To quote from the Government of India’s Communication, ‘It was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.’
Where is Youth Day in India?
Nationwide India
Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
January 12, 2016 in the World
Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day is celebrated on January 12, 2016. “It’s Feast Of Fabulous Wild Men!” “Ogle and whistle at all the hunks you come across ! Just act wild and ask all your friends to do the same.”
Henry David Thoreau wrote the famous phrase, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Attempts to identify the characteristics of wildness are varied. One consideration sees wildness as that part of nature which is not controllable by humans. Nature retains a measure of autonomy, or wildness, apart from human constructions.
The extent to which masculinity is a result of nature or nurture, a matter of what someone is born with or how they are socialised, has been the subject of much debate. There is an extensive debate about how children develop gender identities. On the nature side of the debate, it is argued that masculinity is inextricably linked with the male body.
Where is the event?
National Pharmacist Day
January 12, 2016 in the USA
National Pharmacist Day takes place on January 12, 2016. Pharmacists, also known as chemists or druggists, are healthcare professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use. The role of the pharmacist has shifted from the classical “lick, stick, and pour” dispensary role, to being an integrated member of the health care team directly involved in patient care.
Pharmacists undergo university-level education to understand biochemical mechanisms of action of drugs, drug uses, and therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions, and monitoring parameters. This is mated to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. Pharmacists interpret and communicate this specialized knowledge to patients, physicians, and other health care providers.
Where is the event?
Nationwide USA
National Poetry at Work Day (Second Tuesday in January)
January 12, 2016 in the USA
An ode to…the time clock? The assembly line? The office computer? The poem may need some work, but this is what Poetry At Work Day is all about – finding the beauty in your job and putting it into some form of artful prose.
Every day in our jobs we encounter people and situations that could be put into verse – whether it be a line from an important presentation, a rhythm you notice in the manufacturing process, or perhaps the feelings you wish to encapsulate about the people you serve or a situation you faced. Poetry at Work Day is a great opportunity to take a bit of time to slow down and get your creative juices flowing – to try to put into words in a beautiful way an aspect of your workplace. So, get brainstorming and creating your poetic masterpieces – the world is waiting to hear them!
Where is the event?
Nationwide USA
Historical Events on 12th January:
1528 – Gustav I of Sweden “father of the nation” crowned King of Sweden. Rules 37 years
1552 – Dutch west coast hit by heavy storm, 100s killed
1616 – Brazilian city Belem (the entrance gate to the Amazon) founded by Captain Major Francisco Branco
1755 – Tsarina Elisabeth establishes 1st Russian University
1816 – France decrees Bonaparte family excluded from the country forever
1872 – Yohannes IV is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first imperial coronation in that city in over 200 years
1879 – British Zulu War begins: Lt-General Chelmsford invades Zululand
1904 – Southwest-Africa uprising under Samuel Maherero against German garison
1906 – Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s cabinet (which included amongst its members H.H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill) embarks on sweeping social reforms after a Liberal landslide in the British general election
1913 – After using other pseudonyms over the years, Josef Dzhugashvili signs himself as Stalin (‘man of steel) in a letter to the the paper, Social Democrat
1915 – US House of Representatives rejects proposal to give women right to vote
1918 – Finland’s “Mosaic Confessors” law went into effect, making Finnish Jews full citizens
1933 – US Congress recognize independence Philippines
1950 – USSR re-introduces death penalty for treason, espionage & sabotage
1954 – Austria’s worst avalanche-kills 200; 9hrs later 2nd one-kills 115
1961 – UN genocide pact goes into effect
1966 – “Batman”, starring Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, and Cesar Romero as The Joker, debuts on ABC
1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation
1974 – Libya & Tunisia announces they are merging as “Islamic Arab Republic”
1976 – UN Security Council votes 11-1 to seat Palestine Liberation Organisation
1990 – Romania bans Communist party (1st Warsaw Pact member to do so)
1991 – US Congress gives George Bush authority to wage war against Iraq
1995 – Major earthquake kills 5,092 in Kobe Japan
1996 – Russian troops arrived in Bosnia (joint operation with US)
1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning
2006 – A stampede during the Stoning the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims
2010 – Earthquake occurs in Haiti killing 230,000 and destroying the majority of the capital Port-au-Prince


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