New, Uncharted Island Discovered In Antarctica

So, a few days ago, scientists went and discovered a brand new island in Antarctica. As Brandon Specktor of Live Science reports, in late February, 2020, a group of researchers with the international Thwaites Glacier Offshore Research project stumbled upon the discovery when they were sailing near the Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf. 

Granted, the discovery is unlikely to send any global powers rushing in to plant a flag on the island with intentions to build Nuclear Submarine Base #385 on it. The new island, which the researchers are calling Sif Island after a Norse earth goddess, is only 1,150 feet or so long. Besides, the Antarctic Treaty is still in effect, so the bunch of seals that have taken to calling it home can probably go on to keep it to themselves. Still, it’s a pretty cool discovery, what with islands not generally appearing out of thin air (or, as the case may be, sea). What’s up with that, anyway? Are … are we dealing with some sort of reverse Atlantis scenario, here? The world needs to know! 

Yes, melting ice caps are at it again

The curious “Sif Island” is a notable discovery because it is the only landmass in about 65 miles in any direction, but researchers are quite certain that it used to be rather more connected to the mainland. In fact, they believe it was once covered by the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, which has now melted so significantly that the island was left on its own. 

The prevailing theory is that the island rose to its current status via a phenomenon known as “glacial rebound:” When the heavy ice melts, the ground underneath is “relieved” of the pressure, and ends up rising higher than it used to be. This makes the island a pretty interesting research target, because up until now, we haven’t been sure whether the rebound process accelerates or decreases the breaking of ice shelves. Hopefully, Sif Island has some answers to this question. 

pictellme.com