Study: iron-rich meteorites lie deep in Antarctica’s ice (VIDEO)
A new study has found that the relative lack of iron and metal-heavy meteorites collected in Antarctica is likely due to the sun’s heat causing them to sink deeper into the ice.
Antarctica is a rich area for meteorites, but one type has been under-represented, and a group of scientists from the University of Manchester believes they know why. A recent study has found that relatively fewer meteorites containing iron have been found on the continent because sunlight warms them and causes them to sink deeper in the ice.
Despite the lower depths, the team believes that these specimens are only about 4 to 20 inches below the surface which allows for the possibility of retrieval. This determination was made by placing metallic and non-metallic meteorite samples in ice then measuring their descent rate when heated by a lamp acting as the sun. Subsequent modelling, according to the study, indicated that, “…meteorites with a high-enough thermal conductivity (for example, iron meteorites) can sink at a rate sufficient to offset the total annual upward ice transport…”
The flow of ice typically causes these dark materials, which have been buried for centuries, to emerge visibly in areas known as Meteorite Stranding Zones, or MSZs. Scientists have worked in MSZs since the 1970s to collect specimens for research. Each piece is believed to provide additional insights about the solar system.
Source: GeoBeats News