Rock & Gem

A “Fossil Reservoir” Discovered Beneath Antarctic Ice


As Earth warms, ice melts in arctic regions, releasing huge amounts of water into our oceans. Researcher­s have long known about shallow pools and rivers of water facilitati­ng the ’ow of glacial ice into the oceans. Now they’ve found a layer beneath the Whillans ice stream in West Antarctica over 3,000 feet thick, composed of sediments representi­ng a mix of ancient seawater and water derived from glacial ice. †is could have a profound impact.

A team led by Chloe Gustafson (Columbia University and the University of California, San Diego) found that fast-’owing ice streams modulated by subglacial water systems are not con—ned to shallow margins of Antarctica. Using seismic data, Gustafson’s team discovered “deep sub-ice stream groundwate­r.”

†is discovery may change our understand­ing of water ’ow dynamics beneath glacial ice. Per Gustafson and her colleagues, their data reveals a volume of groundwate­r “that is more than an order of magnitude larger than the known subglacial system” and this —nding is important toward understand­ing just how quickly ice might ’ow oš of Antarctica and ašect sea level rise globally.

We humans rely upon metals. ey are supremely important resources. Billions of tons are mined each year. But we’ve greatly wasted this precious mineral resource.

In an article in the journal Nature Sustainabi­lity, a team including industrial ecologist Christoph Helbig (University of Bayreuth, Germany) has found that only a handful of metals are recycled and reused. Among 61 commercial­ly used metals, including cobalt and gallium (both important components in current technologi­es) more than half have a “lifespan” of ten years or less. Gold, iron, and lead seem to be the exception in that they are re-used and repurposed many times over. But, in general, we humans use-and-abuse then toss aside. As much as 84% of vital metals end up in land lls.

With rising environmen­tal costs, Helbig and colleagues argue in favor of stronger mandates to recycle to reduce the huge scale of waste and destructio­n both in terms of mining for more minerals and land lls lling with minerals already used and now discarded despite the potential toward contributi­ng to sustainabl­e economies.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States