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Former ice allies? (Nov.)

Antarctica crust similar to south India: study

                            The Statesman, New Delhi, Tuesday 26th November 2013                                       

The , the earth's southernmost continent of which 95 per cent is covered with thick ice, is similar to that of south India and Mozambique, which indicates that the three were joined together in the past, researchers have found.

The results of the study titled 'Electrical Structure Beneath Schirmacher Oasis, East Antarctica: a magnetotelluric study' published in the international journal Polar Research earlier this month, have found that the deep crust is untouched by any morphological features and thus gives unequivocal evidence to prove that India, Antarctica and South Africa were together in geological past.

The results have also shown that the crust (top 20 kms) is thick towards the eastern part as compared to the western side. The thick crust was found near Schirmacher Oasis, the eastern part of Antarctica.

The research was done over several years by Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute (GERMI) director T Harinarayana, when he was with the CSIR-run National Geophysics Research Institute (NGRI) at Hyderabad, along with researchers D N Murthy, K Veeraswamy, M Santosh and U K Singh.

“Understanding the deep crust in Antarctica is a major problem in the continent and having measurements to know this involves large logistical problems. We have used very economical way from the measurements of natural electromagnetic signals to map the earth's deep structure,” Mr Harinarayana said. The results were collected during the 24th Indian Antarctic Scientific Expedition.

The research paper states that the highly resistive upper crustal structure supports the existing notion that western Dronning Maud Land is a stable, cratonic platform. Results of free-air gravity, seismic, geomagnetic and surface wave dispersion investigations in east Antarctica also indicate a cratonic-type crust.

Schirmacher Oasis is a coastal ice-free plateau extending for about 35 km in the north-central part of the Dronning Maud Land in east Antarctica.