The icy continent is a pristine sanctuary for scientists and the home of the geographic South Pole, with which NASA prepares for life on Mars . More than 1,000 scientists live in various camps in the frozen desert, defying temperatures as low as -90 ° C. Their research, including drilling in the snow to produce ice cores, has been critical, to prove the impact of climate change on the continent.
This was during Nova's "The Secrets of the Antarctic", why Antarctica is the perfect testing ground for global warming research.
The narrator said in 2015: "In the last decade alone, rising temperatures have caused huge pieces of shoreline ice to shrink or break. ]
"Polar researchers fear that this could only be the beginning of a chain reaction.
"But have the Antarctic ice sheets ever melted before? That's what an international team of geodetic detectors wants to find out.
"To get a more accurate picture of the future of the Antarctic, they want to search deeply for answers from the past with a giant drill."
The Series The narrator went on to detail how the area was once part of a much larger continent.
The narrator continued, "The Antarctic was not always trapped in a deep freeze, 1
"At that time, the earth was much warmer than it is today, and fossil evidence suggests that this huge landmass was a tropical habitat for dinosaurs.
"Finally, the supercontinent broke apart and the Antarctic drifted south.
"As the earth became colder, carbon dioxide and ocean currents further cooled the isolated continent.
"About 34 million years ago, ice slowly began to form, and it took millions of years to finally set in a frozen state."
However, this frozen state allowed plant life to be preserved completely intact and now it melts, researchers can take a look into the past.
Allan Ashworth of North Dakota State University showed the audience a completely intact hand.
He said, "Look, a leaf – that fell into the mud maybe 20 million years ago.
"This may be the best [we’ve found] ever."
A 15 million-year-old discovery was discovered during the same series after the team of the Antarctic Drilling Project (ANDRILL) dug 440 meters under the ice.
The documentary explained that they recover a 12-foot core and wrap it in a protective cover before the workers carefully return it to the lab to be examined.
"When they break it up, it is in perfect condition."
"This mud and rock is more valuable than gold because every core is a time machine.
"Body depth 440 meters, which is about a quarter of a mile down, which is equivalent to at least 15 million years ago, when the Antarctic was still warm.
" While the cores are being recovered, each section is cut lengthwise x-rayed and scanned in laboratories at the well site and back at McMurdo. "