Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2020

Thurston Island

We just learned about Berkner Island.

Another island in Antarctica is Thurston Island.

This is the third smallest Antarctic island after Alexander Island and Berkner Island.

It is 134 miles long and 56 miles wide.

Up until 1960 people thought this island was actually connected to the main part of Antarctica, which would make it a peninsula, but they later discovered it was actually an island, just surrounded by ice.

(from: wikipedia - thurston island)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Dragon's Teeth

Monday, October 12, 2020

Berkner Island

We just learned about the largest island in Antarctica, Alexander Island.

The second largest island is Berkner Island.

This island is about 200 miles by 100 miles, and 17,000 square miles, bigger than the US state of Maryland.

Even though it is an island, the rock part of the island is below the water, and on top of the rock is a big bunch of ice that makes up the island.
If all of the ice melted, the island would be under water.

During the cold parts of the year the island is surrounded by ice, so it doesn't always look like an island.

(from: wikipedia - berkner island)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Witch Tower

Monday, October 5, 2020

Alexander Island

We just learned about the Cirque Glacier.

Another part of Antarctica is Alexander Island.

This is the biggest island on Antarctica, and it is the second largest island in the world that no one lives on, just after Devon Island which is up by the north pole.

It is about 240 miles long, and 50 miles wide.
That is bigger than each of the US states of Rhode Island, Deleware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

Even though it is an island, most of the time it is connected by ice to the rest of Antarctica, so it doesn't always look like an island.

(from: wikipedia - alexander island)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Trou de Loup

Monday, September 28, 2020

Cirque Glacier

We just learned about the Piedmont Glacier.

Another kind of glacier is a Cirque Glacier.

This kind of glacier drains into a bowl shaped valley.

(from: wikipedia - cirque glacier)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Abatis

Monday, September 21, 2020

Piedmont Glacier

We just learned about what a Fjord is.

Another type of Glacier is a Piedmont Glacier.

Just like the other glaciers, when these melt the land around it can make them into a different shape.

If the valley where the glacier flows is a low flat plain, then it spreads out and looks sort of like a seashell or fan shape.

(from: wikipedia - glacier morphology)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Fujian Tulou

Monday, September 7, 2020

Valley Glacier

We just learned about the Outlet Glacier.

Another type of glacier is a Valley Glacier.

Sometimes when glaciers melt, the edge of the glacier is by a valley, a low place with a hill on either side.

So when the melted water flows out, the hills and the valley make sure the water flows in one way.

(from: wikipedia - glacier morphology)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Battery Tower

Monday, August 31, 2020

Outlet Glacier

We just learned about the Antarctic Glaciers.

There are a lot of different types of glaciers. One type is called a Outlet Glacier.

This type of glacier is usually on the outside of another glacier called an inland glacier.
The inland glacier drains water to the outlet glacier, that then drains water when it melts to some other place.

It is an outlet glacier because it is at the end of a glacier and gives the water an outlet to leave the glaciers and go onto land or an ocean.

(from: wikipedia - helheim glacier)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hoarding

Monday, August 24, 2020

Antarctic Glaciers

We just learned about the Ross Gyre.

Another part of Antarctica is the number of Antarctic Glaciers.

We know that the Antarctic Ice sheet goes over all of Antarctica, but there are a lot of smaller ice sheets that people have given names to and put on maps. There are thousands of different glaciers of different types in Antarctica, like outlet glaciers, valley glaciers, cirque glaciers, tidewater glaciers and ice streams.

Each different type of glacier have different shapes and do different things for the ice and water in Antarctica.

The biggest glacier in Antarctica is the Lambert Glacier.

It is 50 miles wide, over 250 miles long and over a mile and a half deep!

(from: wikipedia - lambert glacier)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Yett

Monday, August 17, 2020

Ross Gyre

We just learned about the Weddell Gyre.

Another gyre in Antarctica is the Ross Gyre.

This one is just like the Weddel Gyre, but it is in the Ross Sea which is on the other side of the Antarctic Peninsula from the Weddell Sea.

(from: wikipedia - ross gyre)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Portcullis

Monday, August 10, 2020

Weddell Gyre

We just learned that an Ocean Gyre is a way that water flows around in all the oceans.

One of the ocean gyres in Antarctica is called the Weddell Gyre.

The Weddell Sea is the water by the Antarctic peninsula.

The water in this gyre mixes the super cold water right by Antarctica with the warmer southern Atlantic ocean water that is north of Antarctica.

(from: wikipedia - weddel gyre)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Drawbridge

Monday, August 3, 2020

Ocean Gyre

We just learned about the Antarctic Convergence.

Another part of the geography of Antarctica is the Ocean Gyre.

A gyre is an area in the ocean where the water flows around in an oval shape.
Even though there are smaller waves everywhere, there is an overall flow of the water.

In the northern part of the globe it flows clockwise, and in the south it is counter clockwise.

The gyres mix up the cold and warm water in the ocean and also carry plants animals and even garbage all around the world.
The ocean gyres that go around Antarctica help carry the cold water away from Antarctica to the rest of the ocean.

These swirling waters are made by the earth spinning around, and the water, wind and land pushing everything around.

(from: wikipedia - ocean gyre)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Castle Keep

Monday, July 27, 2020

Antarctic Convergence

We just learned about the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Another part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Convergence, also called the Antarctic Polar Front.

This is the line in the water around Antarctica where the cold water of Antarctica meets the warm water from the rest of the oceans.

Where the waters meet the cold water usually sinks down below, and the warm water goes to the top.
Because of this mixing, a lot of sea animals like krill live there, which also means a lot of other animals that eat krill come around.

The mixing of this cold and warm water has a lot of effects on the rest of the ocean.

(from: wikipedia - antarctic convergence)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Bastion

Monday, July 20, 2020

Antarctic Circumpolar Current

We just learned about the Nunatuk rock formations.

Another part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, also called the ACC.

In the ocean around Antarctica the water flows around it in a clockwise loop.

This water flow called a current is the largest ocean current in the world, mostly because it flows around and around without hitting any other land.
Most other ocean currents eventually run into other continents.

The looping current goes around Antarctica and the south pole like a circle, which is why it's called "Circumpolar".
With the water going around and around, it helps keep the warmer ocean water from getting to Antarctica.
This helps keep the south pole cold and the glaciers from melting.

(from: wikipedia - antarctic circumpolar current)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Butter Churn Tower

Monday, July 13, 2020


We just learned about the Onyx River.

Another part of Antarctica is a Nunatak.

This is a rocky part of a mountain that sticks up out of a glacier.

Nunataks are important because many times they are the only place that plants and animals can live in cold places like Antarctica.

(from: wikipedia - nunatak)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Outworks

Monday, July 6, 2020

Onyx River

We just learned about the Subglacial Lakes.

Another part of Antarctica is the Onyx River.

This is the longest river in Antarctica, at 32 kilometers long and ends up at Lake Vanda.
The water for this river is from meltwater, and goes toward the middle of Antarctica away from the ocean, during the summer months.

Water levels change depending on the season, and the river can flow as fast as 20 cubic meters per second. There were even some researchers from New Zealand that rafted down the river one time!

There are no fish in the river, but there are some tiny animals like bacteria and algea living there, along with some gulls that fly around.

Most of the time the water is just barely higher than the 32 degrees F it needs to melt, so it is really ice cold water!

(from: wikipedia - onyx river)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Roundel

Monday, June 29, 2020

Subglacial Lakes

We just learned about the Meltwater.

Another part of Antarctica is the Subglacial Lakes.

We know that sometimes the ice and snow melts and turns into ponds, rivers or lakes.
And sometimes these lakes are way deep down underneath the ice.

Antarctica has hundreds of lakes deep down underneath the glaciers, called "subglacial lakes".

The biggest one that has been discovered is Lake Vostok.
This is down underneath Vostok Station, and the water is over 2 miles below the ice.
Lake Vostok is 160 miles long, 30 miles wide, and 3,000 feet deep.
It has as much water in it as Lake Michigan.

(from: wikipedia - lake vostok)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Palisade

Monday, June 22, 2020


We just learned about the Melt Pond.

Another part of Antarctica is glacial Meltwater.

Sometimes the ice or snow in Antarctica will melt a little, and turn into what is called meltwater.
Meltwater is different than the ocean water around Antarctica because it is fresh water.
This means animals can drink it, and it also means it can mix with the ice and snow of the glaciers and melt and refreeze over and over.
The meltwater usually melts because of the warmer summer weather, from magma underground, or from volcanic eruptions.

If the water stays in one place on top of the snow or ice, that is the melt pond.
Other times the melted snow or ice will turn into a small river and flow across the snow and ice.
There are even times when the snow or ice will melt underneath the top part, and make a small lake underneath the snow or ice.

Sometimes the meltwater is underground and is between two glaciers.
When this happens the glaciers can move around as they are sliding on the water in between.

Scientists study meltwater because it can help them understand climate change and how glaciers move.

(from: wikipedia - meltwater)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Ramparts

Monday, June 15, 2020

Melt Pond

We just learned about the Antarctic Sea Ice.

Another part of the ice Antarctica is the Melt Pond.

Sometimes when it gets warm enough for ice to start melting, the top of it will melt and make a little pond on top of the other ice.
This melt pond area is darker than the white snow colored ice, so it warms up more with the sun and can cause it to melt more and get bigger.
Sometimes melt ponds are on top of sea ice.
If the sea ice melt pond keeps getting deeper as it melts, it will melt all the way through the ice.
Melt ponds are fresh water, but if they melt through to the ocean underneath that is salt water.
The salt water will melt the sea ice even more and make a bigger melt pond.

Other times melt ponds are on top of glaciers.
If a melt pond gets big and deep enough it will just hit the land underneath.

Melt ponds can also be underneath a glacier, like an underground lake.

(from: wikipedia - melt pond)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Moat

Monday, June 8, 2020

Antarctic Sea Ice

We just learned about the South Pole.

Another part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Sea Ice.

We've learned before about the big Antarctic Ice Sheet that covers the continent.
And we've learned about the Ice Shelves that stick out from the Ice Sheet above the water.

The ice shelves are very thick, sometimes 1 kilometer deep.
Sea ice is a lot thinner, and is usually only a few meters thick.
Sometimes it is touching the shelf ice, and sometimes it's just floating out in the ocean close to Antarctica.

During the winters in Antarctica, the frozen sea ice goes out very far from the main land of Antarctica, and then in the summer most of it melts back to the ice shelves.

(from: wikipedia - antarctic sea ice)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Barbican

Monday, June 1, 2020

South Pole

We just learned about Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station.

We learned before about adventurers traveling to the South Pole.

The south pole is at the very bottom of the planet, and at the opposite end of the north pole.
We know the first person to get there was Roald Admundsen, and the Amundsen-Scott station is right at the south pole.

There is a red striped pole with a silver globe on top with flags all around for picture taking at the south pole. This is called the Ceremonial South Pole, and it is a few feet away from the real south pole.
The warmest the south pole has ever been is 9 F, and the coldest ever was -117 F.

There is also the South Magnetic Pole, which is in a different spot.
When you use a compass and one end points north, the other end points south.
This is because the earth's poles are magnetic which helps a lot for travel!
These north and south poles actually move a little based on the changes in the earth under the ground like the moving magma.

There is also the South Geomagnetic Pole, which is in another different spot.
The earth spins around and makes a magnetic field around it.
You can think about it like how static electricity can move things around.
This is really the true magnetic pole, but the moving of magma and other parts of the earth makes the magnetic pole move around and be different than the geomagnetic pole.

Another place is the South Pole of Inaccessibility.
This is the place in the south pole that is the hardest to get to, as it is the farthest place inland from the ocean.
There was a Russian base there for a while but it has been abandoned.

(from: wikipedia - south pole)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Sally Port