What does Antarctica look like in its underwear? A team at the British Antarctic Survey working with NASA pulled together decades of data to show us a virtual map without all the ice and snow. For the first time, the continent's bare topography is revealed.
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The Bedmap2 is a new virtual map created from substantial amounts of data that included recent measurements from airborne missions as well as satellites. The project, led by British Antarctic Survey scientist Peter Fretwell, relied on NASA's Operation IceBridge, which has recorded Antarctica's surface elevations, ice shelf limits and ice thickness. The new map led to some unexpected discoveries about the southernmost continent.
Not only is the volume of ice in Antarctica 4.6 percent greater than previously thought but the deepest point turns out to be under Byrd Glacier - about 1,300 feet deeper than the spot that had been called the deepest, according to research Fretwell and his colleagues recently published in the scientific journal The Cryosphere (PDF).