Ghost Mountains
December 19, 2009 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Beneath the ice lie the ghost mountains For over a million years they have been ice bound but now scientists have mapped the outlines of the mountain ranges below the Antarctic ice. Dr Michael Studinger from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University, New York has presented a paper on the "more jagged", "more linear" mountains below the Antarctic ice. Further expeditions are planned. Hang on, I mean, further expeditions are planned. Sorry, I mean further expeditions are planned. Previously on MeFi
posted by fallingbadgers (19 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
As we can all guess, there is no way that this can be good news... Next we will hear about the basalt cities, then the strange noises, then we will be welcoming our ghastly overlords from [ pre-human realm of your choice]....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:11 AM on December 19, 2009 [7 favorites]

Only a million years? seems like they would be under there a lot longer then that.
posted by delmoi at 11:14 AM on December 19, 2009

Well, if I was in charge of hiding the gateway to Hades, that's right where I'd put it.
posted by Balisong at 11:24 AM on December 19, 2009

> Only a million years? seems like they would be under there a lot longer then that.

Yeah, right. You must be one of those atheistic Darwinist science-ists who don't believe in the book of Kitab al-Azif.
posted by ardgedee at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2009 [6 favorites]

there is no way that this can be good news...

It could be, if you're into terrifying vistas of reality.

If all the ice sitting on top of the Antarctic continent was melted (by some magic that prevents it from freezing again while it was melting) or just removed, the continent would rise by several hundred meters over a few tens of thousands of years after the weight of the ice was no longer depressing the landmass. This includes the a 60m rise in the sea level to account for the melted ice.
posted by chambers at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2009 [8 favorites]

Geologist William Dyer (Miskatonic U) disapproves.
posted by meehawl at 11:34 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!
posted by Scattercat at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fuckin' A -- it's the Mountains of Madness.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2009

This is so cool. I do not envy the scientists who have to spend two months in negative bajillion degree temperatures.
posted by Lobster Garden at 12:37 PM on December 19, 2009

I am neither surprised nor disappointed thay 66% of the comments so far are Lovecraft references.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:48 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

As long as they don't thaw out any strange hexagonal plant-beasts, the expedition should be ok.
posted by autopilot at 12:55 PM on December 19, 2009

Whatever happened to that lake that everyone was upset about the Russians contaminating?

oh I guess I could read the wikipedia article it doesn't look like anyone's gotten down there yet.
posted by delmoi at 1:48 PM on December 19, 2009

Those mountains are going to need names. I do hope some of the geologists have read their Lovecraft.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2009

I await the press dispatches from the expedition!
posted by Windopaene at 2:34 PM on December 19, 2009

Delmoi, I just posted a link to the Lake Vostok article in another thread a few minutes ago. What are the odds?
posted by neuron at 3:31 PM on December 19, 2009

Hey! Is this where I come to make H.P. Lovecraft references?
posted by kcds at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's funny; I'm actually rereading At the Mountains of Madness right now, in preparation to read (and hopefully run) 'Beyond the Mountains of Madness,' a really huge adventure for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop rpg.

So, um, yeah. Sweet post!
posted by kaibutsu at 4:41 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just finished watching "Encounters at the End of the World ". I love Werner Herzog's documentaries. He always find these strange folks with their tales. -
posted by nostrada at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2009

Cool article! Here's a blog from one of the engineers on the project. And here's another blog from the team as a whole.

I'm really struck by the bit about flying over Antarctica. I wonder how hard that is? Presumably you can adapt the engines for the cold, but what about winds? You don't have much in the way of charts. I see they land on skis and have big stacks of emergency supplies on board, that must be fun. One of the blog posts mentions "Thursday the flying took us over open water so saw us wearing emersion suits just in case". Like that's gonna end well.

I've got no sense of the geography of Antarctica as a whole. It's a big place, half again as big as Australia. This Wikipedia map of bedrock gives some idea of the continental shape. The USGS has some beautiful drawn topo maps of Antarctica, I believe from 1960s survey data. I couldn't find anything from the Gamburtsevs though.

(I enjoy HP Lovecraft as much as the next Internet nerd. And I think Mountains of Madness is his finest work. But science is more interesting than a cheap association to an 80 year old novella).
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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