The surface of our beloved planet it’s not infinite and it does have a final frontier, even if the world is not flat. Some consider that to be East Antarctica, a large region consisting of almost completely unexplored mountains and canyons covered in thick layers of ice. And as another proof that we still know too little about this amazing region, experts just recently found that it’s seismically active. A new study, which the journal Nature Geoscience recently published, says that since 1982, nine earthquakes have been recorded in East Antarctica.
Interestingly enough, out of all three regions of Antarctica, the eastern one was always considered the coldest, largest and most stable, seismically speaking. Until now, experts attributed this lethargy to the low levels of tectonic stress in the area and the weight of the ice. However, it seems that the truth behind is, in fact, a lot simpler. According to Drexel University seismologist Amanda Lough, who is the leader of this recent study, until now, experts didn’t have the possibility to completely observe this region. This is why we weren’t sure about its seismic activity, or lack thereof.
There are earthquakes in East Antarctica
After a seismic array was installed in the ice sheet’s interior in the area, only in 2009 alone, 27 small earthquakes were recorded. Geologists call the East Antarctica region a craton, which is a stable continental landmass. The Canadian Shield is also a craton, for example. Usually, cratons do have seismic activity, which made experts wonder even more why East Antarctica appeared to not have any.
This latest evidence answers many questions and puts the region in line with how it should behave. According to scientists, this is another proof oh just how little we know about this fascinating area. Also, of how little we know about our planet, in general.
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