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Volcano study helps measure historic ice sheet thickness

UBC geologists examine pyroclastic deposits near summit of tephra cone on south side of Kima'Kho. Key attributes of these deposits established that they were deposited above the level of a surrounding englacial lake.

UBC geologists examine pyroclastic deposits near summit of tephra cone on south side of Kima’Kho. Key attributes of these deposits established that they were deposited above the level of a surrounding englacial lake. Photo courtesy UBC Science.

Ancient tuyas hold climate clues

By Summit Voice

FRISCO —In what must have been incredible displays of fire and ice, ancient volcanoes once erupted under massive glacial ice sheets, leaving deposits that could help paleoclimatologists unravel some ice age puzzles.

In a recent study, University of British Columbia researchers surveyed those deposits at the Kima’ Kho tuya, which erupted under an ice sheet about 1.8 million years ago. Their findings suggest that he ancient regional ice sheet through which the volcano erupted was twice as thick as previously estimated. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Antarctica – the lost (and found) files

A world apart

Sunrise over the Antarctic Peninsula.

SUMMIT COUNTY — I was reorganizing the Summit Voice photo archives last night and discovered a folder within a folder containing a few more images from Antarctica that I had set aside a few months ago for a future photoblog, then promptly forgot about. I keep most of my image files in a basic pre-installed version of iPhoto, which probably isn’t the best way, but it is quick, easy and intuitive, as many Mac programs are. But it’s time to upgrade. Any input?

A solitary chinstrap penguin on an ice floe in the Weddell Sea.

Continue reading

Antarctica Part 3: Landfall on Paulet Island

Dawn tints the glacier-covered peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula during a 2009 voyage aboard the M/V Professor Molchanov.

February 2009 Antarctic journey follows the footsteps of early Scandinavian explorers

By Bob Berwyn

South of the Antarctic Convergence zone, the sea is still. The ship slows to maneuver between giant ice floes in the Antarctic Sound. We awaken to a magical world of icebergs tinged lipstick-pink and tangerine-orange by a spectacular Antarctic sunrise. Only a few passengers are awake and perched on the bow of the Molchanov to watch a group of penguins arch through the water like mini-dolphins. They’re powerful swimmers, using their wings to propel themselves under water with flying motions.

“They’re trying to fly,” says  expedition leader Jan Belgers. Even though the birds gave up the sky for the deep sea eons ago, they still have some genetic memory of what it must be like to soar through the air, Belgers explains. Continue reading

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