Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Clues to Antarctica's Great Mountain Ridge

The origins of the highest peaks in Antarctica have long been shrouded in mystery. Now researchers suggest they are remnants of a gigantic high plateau that collapsed as the earth tore apart.

The frozen continent of Antarctica was the last explored by humanity. The mysteries lurking at its heart inspired the pioneering horror writer H.P. Lovecraft to imagine "Mountains of Madness" there in the 1930s higher than the Himalayas, "pylons of a frightful gateway into forbidden spheres of dream, and complex gulfs of remote time, space, and ultra-dimensionality."

Although less fantastic, the Transantarctic Mountains remain striking. They make up one of the longest mountains chains in the world, stretching more than 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) across the entire length of the continent, and can reach heights more than 4,500 meters, or more than 2.5 miles tall, a little more than half the height of Everest (8,848 meters).


Read and ponder.

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