Scientists Rush to Explore Underwater World Hidden for 120,000 Years Below Ice

By Jeanna Bryner

A huge, trillion-ton iceberg about the size of Delaware broke free from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017. As it moved away from its chilly birth mom and into the Weddell Sea, a vast expanse of water saw the light for the first time in up to 120,000 years.

And this month, a team of scientists will venture to the long-ice-buried expanse to investigate the mysterious ecosystem that was hidden beneath the Antarctic ice shelf for so long.

The newly exposed seabed stretches across an area of about 2,246 square miles (5,818 square kilometers), according to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which is leading the expedition. The scientists consider their journey “urgent,” as they hope to document the system before sunlight begins to change at least the surface layers.

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