Antarctica Conspiracy: Antarctica has held a fascination for explorers and scientists alike for centuries. Its harsh and extreme conditions have kept many of its secrets locked away, yet the frozen continent continues to be an object of great interest.

Antarctica is the last unexplored wilderness in the world, shrouded in mystery and secrets. Covering an area 1.5 times larger than the United States, it is 99% covered in ice. It accounts for 90% of all ice on Earth. Despite these inhospitable conditions, scientists have made numerous fascinating discoveries, from blood-red waterfalls, ancient fossils, and peculiar natural phenomena to incredible creatures.

Antarctica has revealed a world beneath the ice, with underground lakes, a huge mountain range, and a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms, to name but a few. Here are 14 of the most remarkable mysteries hidden within this great white continent.

Underground Lakes

Despite the thick layers of ice covering Antarctica, scientists have discovered numerous underground lakes. These subglacial lakes were first discovered in the 1970s using radars. They estimate that there are about 400 lakes under 3 kilometers of ice in the explored regions. The lakes were formed after the separation of Antarctica from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland. They do not freeze due to the pressure from the weight of the ice sheet.

The largest subglacial lake in Antarctica is Lake Vostok, discovered in the 1990s by Russian scientists. It is also the third-largest lake in the world by volume, lying 3.5 kilometers below the ice. In 2014, scientists had a major breakthrough at Lake Whillans. They discovered a diverse and active ecosystem of microorganisms in the lake, nearly a kilometer under the ice sheet.

Deep Lake

Deep Lake is an inland lake in East Antarctica that has fascinated scientists for years. It sits 55 meters below sea level, with water salinity increasing as it gets deeper. The water is ten times saltier than the ocean and is comparable to the Dead Sea. It does not freeze, despite temperatures reaching -20ºC at its deepest point. The lake is almost uninhabitable, with one of the least productive ecosystems in the world. Scientists have found only four microbe species living in the waters, although it is dangerous for most other animals. Some penguins have been spotted swimming in the waters, but they can easily die as the lake is much colder than the ocean.

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Blood Falls

In the McMurdo Dry Valley, a bright crimson, five-story waterfall pours out of Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney. The water appears like a gush of blood from a wound in the ice. The cause behind this mysterious phenomenon was recently discovered by scientists. The water that feeds Blood Falls was once a salty lake that is now cut off from the atmosphere due to the formation of glaciers on top of the lake. The water is preserved 400 meters underground and has become even saltier over time, making it three times saltier than seawater.

It is also rich in iron and completely devoid of oxygen and sunlight. As the iron-rich water seeps through a fissure in the glacier and comes into contact with the air, the iron oxidizes and rusts, staining the water a dark red color. This eerie sight is only accessible by helicopter or cruise ships visiting the Ross Sea.

Unusual Creatures

Antarctica is a desolate and icy continent with extreme weather conditions. It includes strong winds and freezing temperatures that can drop as low as -89.4°C. Despite the harsh environment, Antarctica is home to various unusual and unique species that have adapted to survive in this challenging climate.

Until recently, scientists believed that nothing could survive under the thick ice sheets. However, researchers have discovered several unusual creatures, including microbes, crustaceans, colossal squid, and leggy spiders as big as dinner plates. There are even giant worms with golden bristles and sharp-toothed jaws. Additionally, one can find see-through icefish, which have antifreeze glycoproteins and translucent skin that allow their internal organs to be visible.

Ancient Fossils and Rainforests

Antarctica is an ancient land that has undergone incredible transformations over millions of years. Before it turned into a frozen desert after the Ice Age, it was a warm region with rainforests and, possibly, even civilizations. Scientists discovered fossilized wood, leaf impressions, and signs of tropical trees that suggest the existence of rainforests in Antarctica. They have also found numerous fossils of marine animals, birds, and dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.

Scientists uncovered the fossilized forewings of a beetle species that lived in a warmer climate and single-celled fossils that have been a source of debate among scientists. They also discovered fifty-million-year-old sperm cells on the egg case of a long-extinct species of worm. It is an extraordinary discovery that might lead to new evolutionary information.

Gamburtsev Mountain Range

Antarctica holds many secrets beneath its vast ice sheets, including a massive mountain range called the Gamburtsev Mountains. They are hidden below a two to four-thousand-kilometer-thick sheet of ice, stretch for 1,200 kilometers, and rise to 3,000 meters, which is a third of the height of Mount Everest. These mountains were discovered in 1958 by Russian scientists who noticed abnormal gravity fluctuations while traveling across Antarctica. Scientists use radars to see the physical features of the mountains, while gravitational and magnetic readings allow them to study the mountains all the way to their base.

The Gamburtsev Mountains have long perplexed scientists as to how they were formed and why they still exist. These mountains are approximately one billion years old, and they should have eroded away with time. One theory is that a frozen mantle may be protecting the mountains from erosion.

Singing Ice

The Ross Ice Shelf, which is the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, covers an area around the size of France. Recently, scientists discovered that the Ross Ice Shelf produces a haunting melody caused by wind blowing across the snow dunes. It creates surface vibrations that generate almost continuous seismic tones. Although inaudible to the human ear, scientists use seismic sensors to listen to the mournful tune. The song changes in response to environmental factors such as melting or shifting snow during storms. Researchers are using this song to monitor the ice shelf in real-time to track its stability and vulnerability to collapse through seismic humming.

The Giant Hole

In 2017, a polynya the size of Ireland opened up in the Weddell Sea of the Southern Ocean. A polynya is a hole in the ice, created by warmer, saltier water rising from the depths of the sea and melting the ice on the surface. Scientists believe marine mammals may use these openings to breathe. However, they are still working to understand the impacts of these strange, giant holes.

Mount Erebus

Antarctica is home to several volcanoes, including Mount Erebus. It is the world’s southernmost active volcano and the second-highest volcano in Antarctica at 3,800 meters high. Despite the freezing conditions, this extreme natural wonder has liquid magma and ancient lava lakes that have been boiling for around 1.3 million years. Scientists cannot often visit Mount Erebus due to its remote location and dangerous weather conditions. However, in 2013, a team of scientists managed to climb the volcano. There they found organisms living in the heat of the volcano and discovered thriving microorganisms in the soil of its ice caves.

The Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean, encompassing the entire continent of Antarctica, was recognized as the fifth ocean in 2000. As the fourth largest ocean globally, it contributes significantly to the planet’s oceanic circulation. It encompasses the southern portions of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans. With a maximum depth of around 7,300 meters, it is almost twice the size of the United States.

The Southern Ocean’s importance lies in its ability to absorb carbon emissions, which make up 15% of human-made pollution, possibly holding the key to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, this process is not permanent, and scientists are rapidly working to determine how it works.

When visiting Antarctica by ship, one must cruise through the Southern Ocean, observing the ocean’s power while looking out from the observation deck, catching a glimpse of the Antarctic Peninsula.

McMurdo Dry Valleys

Antarctica is known as the largest desert globally, even though it might not look like a typical desert. The continent is mainly covered in ice, and only 1% is ice-free, known as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. These valleys have a climate comparable to that of Mars and contain sand dunes that can reach up to 70 meters in height and 200 meters in width, making it a crucial location for scientists studying the region’s secrets.

Although the Dry Valleys are moving at an average of 1.5 meters per year, scientists have found that the dunes are shifting due to climate change and the melting of ice in the region. Therefore, researchers are working quickly to study the dunes before they disappear forever.

Antarctic Fungi

Antarctica’s unique ecosystem is also home to many fascinating microorganisms and extremophiles, including an endemic species of fungi. This Antarctic fungus thrives in freezing temperatures by consuming the centuries-old wooden huts abandoned by the first explorers. Another kind of fungi discovered feeds on petroleum leaking from fuel containers left by explorers. Some leading scientists studied these creatures for their potential to help clean up large oil spills worldwide.

Ancient Meteorites

Antarctica serves as a treasure trove for meteorites. While these rocky fragments can fall anywhere on Earth, Antarctica provides an ideal environment for their preservation due to its cold and dry conditions. The stark white surface of the ice also makes it easier to spot the dark meteorites, which are almost always extraterrestrial rocks, as few rocks form naturally on the ice sheets of Antarctica.

The East Antarctic region, in particular, is a prime location for meteorite discoveries. The reason being is due to the massive ice sheet’s long-standing stillness, which allows the top layers to evaporate through sunlight and strong winds. This exposes the older ice and large concentrations of meteorites.

Since 1976, more than 20,000 extraterrestrial meteorite samples have been collected. In 2013, a group of Japanese and Belgian scientists made an incredible discovery of the largest meteorite found in East Antarctica in 25 years. It weighed 18 kilograms. In just 40 days, the team collected 425 meteorites with a collective weight of 75 kilograms, including a piece of the asteroid Vesta and a meteorite from Mars.

Aliens, Nazis, and the Lost City

Antarctica is a hotbed of mysteries, and over the years, it has been surrounded by numerous conspiracy theories. From bizarre structures and elongated skulls to strange pyramids and a giant staircase, many believe that Antarctica has had extraterrestrial life.

Reports of dozens of UFO sightings surface every year, and Google Earth has captured some unusual activity attributed to alien works. The area is a hotspot for alien hunters. So keep an eye out for any bizarre green lights in the sky!

The mystery of Antarctica extends beyond its surface, where no one has ventured before. It is believed that the Lost City of Atlantis is buried beneath the kilometers of ice. The city is believed to have flourished when Antarctica was a warm, tropical region, and it got buried after the Ice Age froze the continent.

While it is highly probable that a civilization existed in Antarctica, it is yet to be proven that the continent is the site of the fabled lost city. It is also speculated that the Nazis used underground Antarctica as a secret hideaway. Also, some believe that Hitler fled there after the war.