For the primary time, a world crew of scientists has used magnetic knowledge from ESA’s Swarm mission along with aeromagnetic survey datasets to assist unveil the mysteries of the geology that underlies Antarctica’s kilometers-thick ice sheets. Their findings printed as open-access paper within the journal Scientific Experiences examine properly with the geology of previously adjoining continents, specifically Australia, India and South Africa, which have been as soon as a part of the traditional Gondwana supercontinent.
Gondwana was a former supercontinent that included South America, Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, India, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica from about 600–500 million years in the past to the early Jurassic, about 180 million years in the past. When Gondwana began to interrupt up, South America, Africa, India and Australia drifted northwards, in the end leaving Antarctica stranded and remoted on the South Pole, and lined in ice for round 34 million years.
The crew processed aeromagnetic knowledge from plane from over southern Africa, Australia and Antarctica in a constant method with the assistance of Swarm satellite tv for pc magnetic knowledge. Aeromagnetic knowledge don’t cowl in all places on Earth, so magnetic fashions complied from Swarm knowledge assist to fill the blanks, particularly over India have been aeromagnetic knowledge are nonetheless not broadly accessible. Moreover, satellite tv for pc knowledge assist to homogenize the airborne knowledge, which have been acquired over a interval of greater than 60 years with various accuracy and determination.
Jörg Ebbing, the lead creator of the research, explains, “With the accessible knowledge, we solely had items of the puzzle. Solely after we put them along with satellite tv for pc magnetic knowledge, can we see the complete image.”
Scientists have been attempting to piece collectively the connections between Antarctica and different continents for many years. Nevertheless, with restricted entry to Antarctica’s bedrock, outcrops are discovered solely within the Transantarctic Mountains and alongside just a few ice-free sections of the shoreline, it’s tough to map geological models. Magnetic surveys, mapping the various magnetic properties of rocks, play a pivotal function as a result of one can peer beneath the thick Antarctic ice sheet. The researchers created a magnetic map of your complete continent, with geomagnetic models that match comparable models present in Australia, Inda, South America and Africa. Combining the magnetic maps with a plate tectonic mannequin, the research additionally reconstructed Gondwana’s break-up and continental actions up to now 200 million years.
“Utilizing the brand new magnetic knowledge, our animation illustrates how the tectonic plates have moved over thousands and thousands of years after the breakup of Gondwana,” explains Peter Haas, PhD scholar and coauthor.