Located in the center of the Filchner-Rhne Ice Shelf - a five-hour flight from the nearest Antarctic station - nothing comes easy. Although it was the southern summer, British Antarctic Survey geographer James Smith endured cold temperatures for about three months, sleeping in a tent, eating dehydrated food. Science itself was a problem: To study the history of the floating shelf, it required an underwater sink, locked under ice for half a mile.
To achieve this, Smith and his colleagues had to melt 20 tons of ice to produce 20,000 gallons [20,000 L] of hot water, which they piped down borehore. It took them 20 hours for the ice to melt from inches to inches, and finally to break through the shelf.
Next, he lowered the device to collect the screens with the GoPro camera. But the collector returned empty-handed. He tried again. it is still empty. Also, there is nothing easy here: each rotation of the metal takes an hour.
Later that night in his tent, Smith saw a picture and saw a very serious problem. The video shows him descending 3,000 feet [3,000 m] of blue snow, which ends up suddenly in the deep waters of the ocean. The camera continues for another 1,600 feet until the ocean floor is finally visible — especially the light-colored sediment, which Smith was following, but also dark. That dark object turned into a rock, a blurry camera, causing the face to sink into the mud below. The camera quickly turns on and scans the rock, revealing something geologists did not want at all. In fact, it was the most impossible: life.
It's like, ****** ****! "Said Smith." It's just a big rock in the middle of a flat ocean floor. It's not like the sea is full of these things. "
The wrong place to collect underwater mud, but the perfect place to capture millions in finding life in an area that scientists never thought could support much of you. Smith is not a biologist, but a colleague, Hugh Griffiths of the British Antarctic Survey. When Griffith looked back at the UK, he noticed a film on the rock, which may have been a layer of microbial mat. An alien-like sponge and other hidden animals hang on a cliff, while a strong, circular sponge falls on top. The rock was also lined with clever threads, perhaps part of a germ mattress, or perhaps a strange animal known as the hydroid.
The fossil found by Smith was about 100 miles [160 km] from noon — that is, the closest edge of the shelf, where the ice ends and the open sea begins. Hundreds of miles from the vicinity can be a source of food - a place with enough sunlight to influence the ecosystem, and the resources of rivers known to provide these organisms with food. be in a good position in comparison.