The geology of Antarctica is very varied; fossiliferous sedimentary rocks, lava and deep magmatic rocks, a wide range of metamorphic rocks, as well as active volcanoes and glacial deposits. Most of Antarctica is covered by ice, but where mountains breach the ice, exposures are completely free of vegetation.
The Antarctic continent is a land mass covered with ice up to 4 km thick. The highest point is around 4 km above sea level. There is little exposed rock. Millions of years ago Antarctica had heavy vegetation, but today the only plants that grow are very small mosses and lichens.
Antarctica is made up of lots of ice in the form of glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs. Antarctica has no trees or bushes. The only plants that can live in a place that cold are moss and algae.
Antarctica might be covered 98% in ice, but there are areas of snow- and ice-free land. The McMurdo Dry Valleys is an area close to Ross Island that experiences low humidity, and the surrounding mountains prevent the flow of ice from nearby glaciers.
Glacier ice, like limestone (for example), is a type of rock. Glacier ice is actually a mono-mineralic rock (a rock made of only one mineral, like limestone which is composed of the mineral calcite). The mineral ice is the crystalline form of water (H2O).
Ice is definitely a mineral. It meets all four of the requirements set forth in the definition of a mineral: It is naturally occurring, solid, has an organized crystal structure, and has a well-defined chemical composition. Ice is also technically a rock.
The whole world will never be underwater. But our coastlines would be very different. If all the ice covering Antarctica , Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). The ocean would cover all the coastal cities.
Antarctica is a cold desert, with snowfall equivalent to only 150mm of water each year. This snow builds up gradually and ice flows towards the coast as huge glaciers. In many places, these extend out over the sea as massive ice shelves. Only about 0.4% of the surface of Antarctica is free of snow and ice.
The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90 percent of Earth's fresh water in 30 million cubic kilometres of ice. But there's not a drop to drink, unless you pour some serious energy into making it.
Antarctica hasn't always been a continent covered in thick ice. In fact, millions of years ago it resembled similar to a tropical forest with huge trees, and lots of diverse wildlife.
However, all the ice is not going to melt. The Antarctic ice cap, where most of the ice exists, has survived much warmer times. The concern is that portions of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps may disappear.
Since snow, glaciers, and lake ice are rocks, then when the melt they form molten rock. Since it is on the surface, it is technically lava.
The answer is yes! In fact, ice can form the equivalent of igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rocks! Igneous rocks form from the consolidation of molten or liquid rock.
Water seeps into cracks in the rocks, and, as the temperature drops below freezing, the water expands as ice in the cracks. The expansion exerts tremendous pressure on the surrounding rock and acts like a wedge, making cracks wider. After repeated freezing and thawing of water, the rock breaks apart.
If Antarctica were to be green again and have a climate where plants could grow like they do in the temperate or tropical regions, it would need the ice cover to melt to clear the land Then it would need soil to form, which would take hundreds to thousands of years and then it would need temperatures to increase very …
roughly 26,000 to 19,000 years ago
Was it all endless glaciers and frozen ice The answer is a partial yes—with some interesting caveats. The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), colloquially called the last ice age, was a period in Earth's history that occurred roughly 26,000 to 19,000 years ago.
Antarctica doesn't belong to anyone. There is no single country that owns Antarctica. Instead, Antarctica is governed by a group of nations in a unique international partnership. The Antarctic Treaty, first signed on December 1, 1959, designates Antarctica as a continent devoted to peace and science.
In the geological past (many millions of years ago), Antarctica has been much warmer than present, and fossils found in rocks indicate that at various times even trees have covered much of the continent.
The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet isn't necessarily permanent, as bedrock cores show that some of its ice grew back after a more severe thaw thousands of years ago.
Striking during the time period known as the Pleistocene Epoch, this ice age started about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until roughly 11,000 years ago. Like all the others, the most recent ice age brought a series of glacial advances and retreats. In fact, we are technically still in an ice age.
By 23 million years ago, Antarctica was mostly icy forest and for the last 15 million years, it has been a frozen desert under a thick ice sheet.
There is still some uncertainty about the full volume of glaciers and ice caps on Earth, but if all of them were to melt, global sea level would rise approximately 70 meters (approximately 230 feet), flooding every coastal city on the planet. Learn more: USGS Water Science School: Glaciers and Icecaps.
Thanks to the low visibility and undeveloped infrastructure, flying over Antarctica is extremely difficult. Specifically, because of the strong magnetic fields that surround the polar regions, navigating there, no matter how well-equipped the airplane is in terms of instrumentation, can be particularly challenging.
The extreme heat would probably burn your lungs and cause your organs to fail. “The water in the body would probably boil to steam, all while the lava is melting the body from the outside in,” Damby says. (No worries, though, the volcanic gases would probably knock you unconscious.)
Your tongue would cauterize and kill your taste buds. Solidified lava would taste like a rock. Michael Poland: Well, it's hard to imagine it tasting like anything, since it would instantly burn your tongue.