US News 'Mysterious' marine life lies under iceberg

08:15  10 october  2017
08:15  10 october  2017 Source:   Sky News

New prehistoric sea monster species identified

  New prehistoric sea monster species identified A new prehistoric sea monster has been identified, after one of its fossils spent almost 150 years sitting in museum archives. The marine predators were 10ft-long with strong jaws and serrated teeth that allowed it to feast on large prey, such as prehistoric squid.The Ieldraan melkshamensis, named the Melksham Monster after the Wiltshire town where the fossil was found, once roamed the seas of Europe.

The release of the new iceberg - called calving - means researchers can now for the first time investigate the " mysterious marine ecosystem" that has been hidden beneath it for up to She said: "We have a unique opportunity to study how marine life responds to a dramatic environmental change.

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A rift across the Larsen C Ice Shelf is seen during an airborne survey over the Antarctic Peninsula from NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft on November 10, 2016 © Reuters A rift across the Larsen C Ice Shelf is seen during an airborne survey over the Antarctic Peninsula from NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft on November 10, 2016

A team of scientists is planning an expedition to explore the hidden marine life which has been exposed by a trillion-ton iceberg breaking off the West Antarctic ice shelf.

The 2,200 square mile section of the Larsen C ice shelf - almost four times the size of London - snapped off in mid-July, reducing the size of the shelf by 12% and changing the landscape of the peninsula forever.

The release of the new iceberg - called calving - means researchers can now for the first time investigate the "mysterious marine ecosystem" that has been hidden beneath it for up to 120,000 years.

New prehistoric sea monster species identified

  New prehistoric sea monster species identified A new prehistoric sea monster has been identified, after one of its fossils spent almost 150 years sitting in museum archives. The marine predators were 10ft-long with strong jaws and serrated teeth that allowed it to feast on large prey, such as prehistoric squid.The Ieldraan melkshamensis, named the Melksham Monster after the Wiltshire town where the fossil was found, once roamed the seas of Europe.

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Related: One trillion-ton Iceberg breaks off Antarctica (Provided by:International Business Times)

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Marine biologist Katrin Linse, from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), is leading the mission.

Antarctica: Nasa releases more pics of the trillion tonne iceberg that broke off Larsen C Ice Shelf

  Antarctica: Nasa releases more pics of the trillion tonne iceberg that broke off Larsen C Ice Shelf Nasa's Earth Observatory has released more images of the Larsen C Ice Shelf which was reported to have lost an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan into the sea last month. Nasa's Earth Observatory has released more images of the Larsen C Ice Shelf which was reported to have lost an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan into the sea last month.

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She said: "We have a unique opportunity to study how marine life responds to a dramatic environmental change.

"Normally, it takes years to plan the logistics for marine research cruises. Our funder, NERC (Natural Environment Research Council), and our ship operations team recognise the urgency to act quickly.

"Everyone is pulling out the stops to make this happen.

An aerial view of the rift in the Larsen C ice shelf in November © Reuters An aerial view of the rift in the Larsen C ice shelf in November

"All we need now is for the iceberg to move far enough away from the remaining shelf and the sea ice to melt so that we can navigate safely."

Dr Linse said it was "exciting to think about what we might find".

The study will take place in February 2018 on board the BAS' research ship, the RRS James Clark Ross, and is expected to last around three weeks.

Phil Trathan, head of conservation biology at BAS, who is part of the expedition team, said the calving offered "a new and unprecedented opportunity" for research.

While cracks happen periodically - and this one is believed to have been a natural event - experts are also watching to see whether the process has been affected or accelerated by global warming.

As the iceberg was floating before it snapped, it is thought the break will have no immediate impact on sea level.

Larsen C is 350 metres thick and is the largest and most northerly of the Antarctic ice shelves.

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