Queensland Researchers Debunk “Mega-Lake” Theory of Antarctica


University of Queensland researchers have debunked the "mega-lake" theory of Antarctica.

Researchers said that Antarctica is the driest continent on planet Earth and it has always been in the same condition for several million years. They said that Victoria Valley in Antarctica's Trans-Antarctic Mountains was not filled with any mega glacial lakes between 20,000 and 8000 years ago.

"The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are one of the driest places on Earth, thought to be similar to the conditions on Mars, and our research has shown a drier history than previously believed," Associate Professor Hamish McGowan from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, said in a statement.

"Our studies show the previously accepted mega-lake, estimated to be 200m deep and covering an area of 100km2, never existed."

For the study, researchers used topographic surveys and comsogenic dating of the granite boulders to determine the prevalence of any huge water body in the past. The researchers found that the Valley never consisted of any "mega-lakes" and the existing shorelines are actually remnants of an ancient collapse of the slope that occurred around 300,000 years ago.

McGowan said that the evidence of the mega-lake hypothesis majorly depended on the presence of landscape features interpreted as shorelines.

"Our research has shown that these features are actually evidence of an ancient mass movement of land and that accumulating enough water to generate a mega-lake would not have been possible at the time," McGowan said. "There are well-recognised paleoshorelines from other Antarctic lakes, but the shorelines proposed for Glacial Lake Victoria are not consistent.

The finding is published in Geomorphology.

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics