Scientists have discovered extensive caves warmed by a nearby volcano that could host life, perhaps indicating there are many species we haven't found yet on the continent.
Australian scientists who were exploring some caves in the glaciers of Antarctica ccame to a very shocking conclusion recently. They determined that they are so warm, it’s possible that these caves could support plants and animals thanks to an active volcano known as Mount Erebus on Ross Island, which creates steam hollowing out the cave systems.
Scientists foun that it can be up to 25 degrees Celsius in some caves, which is a balmy 77 degrees Fahrenheit. One scientist said in a statemenet that it’s so warm, you could wear a t-shirt in there and be comfortable despite being on the only unpopulated continent on Earth.
Scientists found DNA in the caves similar to DNA from plants and animals that can be found elsewhere on the barren continent, but they weren’t completely sure what species they were. However, the finding does provide a fascinating glimpse of what could live beneath the seemingly desolate Antarctica ice, and there could be new species of plants and animals lurking below.
“It can be really warm inside the caves – up to 25 degrees Celsius in some caves. You could wear a t-shirt in there and be pretty comfortable,” Lead researcher Dr Ceridwen Fraser from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said in a statement. “There’s light near the cave mouths, and light filters deeper into some caves where the overlying ice is thin.”
“The results from this study give us a tantalising glimpse of what might live beneath the ice in Antarctica – there might even be new species of animals and plants,” she said.