A Dead Satellite Is Unlocking the Secrets Lurking Beneath Antarctica

Antarctica contains between 60 and 90 percent
of the world’s fresh water in the form of ice. It may look relatively barren, but don’t
let its seemingly uniform appearance on top fool you—a dead satellite has now given
us clues that something very interesting is hiding underneath. The satellite in question is called the Gravity
Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer, pronounced GOCE for short, because
the European Space Agency is cosmopolitan like that. This sleek little sports car of a satellite
was created to measure and record fluctuations in the earth’s gravitational field and global
mean sea level. We then use this data to produce a model of
the earth called the geoid—hold that thought, we’ll come back to that in a second. The GOCE satellite completed its mission in
2013, but research teams all over the world have still been piecing together the data
ever since its cute little butt burned up in the earth’s atmosphere. Because here’s the thing about gravitational
field data: it tells us what the earth is like…even the parts of it we can’t see. And here’s where the geoid comes back in. The geoid is a hypothetical ocean—no tides,
no waves, no nothin’. In this model, the only things the world’s
oceans are influenced by are the earth’s gravity, and the rotation of the earth. Since objects with more mass have more gravity,
the ‘water’ of the geoid bunches up in places on earth where there’s greater mass,
giving us a model of the earth that looks a little bit like a misshapen ball It’s funky shape is our map to all the topographical
features on earth! So GOCE’s mission was really important. The geoid lets us better understand ocean
currents, sea level rise, and changes in ice coverage, but it also lets us see inside the
earth. Using three pairs of ultra-sensitive accelerometers,
mounted orthogonally to create what’s called a gradiometer, GOCE took measurements that
allowed one research team to calculate gravity gradients, which allow us to see the size and character of all of the earth’s topography—including what’s under Antarctica, the least understood
of all the continents. Turns out, it’s a patchwork continent, made
up of at least three different cratons, which are remnant rocky cores of long-lost ancient
landmasses. and—get this—each craton has geologic
similarities to an existing land mass we know and love today. One is similar to Australia, one matches up
to India, and so on. Now we finally know that this—Antarctica–is
the accumulation of what was left over after supercontinent Gondwana broke up and all the
pieces went their separate ways 160 million years ago! This new understanding of the tectonic puzzle
pieces locked together at the bottom of the globe can help us visualize the plate tectonics
of earth past. How did the continental plates move around,
what did they bump into, what mountain ranges and volcanoes and oceans did they create? But how does knowing what’s under Antarctica’s
icy face add to the science of the present? Well, the ice is melting. Antarctica’s ice sheets and glaciers are
losing just shy of 300 billion tons of ice per year. That’s compared to the 1980s, when the continent
was losing just 44 billion tons a year. When factoring in melting from other huge
ice sheets like Greenland, Antarctica’s melting ice could contribute to up to six
feet of sea level rise before the end of the century. Plus—we’re contending with something called
post-glacial rebound. Turns out, the earth’s crust is pretty elastic,
and after all that heavy, heavy ice is gone off Antarctica’s back, that landmass, all
that bedrock…is going to spring back up. Yeah. So it’d be nice to be prepared for how that
might play out. This most recent study, with the help of handy
dandy GOCE data, gives us a detailed look at the rock composition and the configuration
of land masses underneath all that ice–the nature of the rock, the way it’s all put
together and the way it moves will influence how fast the ice melts, what directions that
water is likely to go in, and how the ice may shift as it melts and breaks apart. And remember, these are big freaking ice sheets,
so knowing how they may move as they melt is pretty important. So collecting and analyzing data like this
may complete our picture of how earth changed and molded itself during formative periods
of geologic time, helping us understand both its past and prepare us for its uncertain—but
definitely shifting—future. What else do you think is also lurking beneath
our icy continent. Tell us in the comments below and if you want
even more on ancient earth discoveries, check out my other video on a secret hidden ocean
here, don’t forget to subscribe, and make sure you always come back to Seeker to get
your geology fix. Thanks for watching!


  1. Roman Empire Author

    Believe me girls with specs + accent are Cool 💞.Just look her.If I ever had a chance to met/Date her #Fantasy# that will be my dream came true…Te Amo Boooo😍😘💝

  2. Nathan Fields Author

    So sad that seeker is spreading false ice sheet data. Quit lying to people!! The full story is that it only loses a net 82 billion tons a year. For all of to melt at that rate it will take 30+ years. It loses and gains billions of tons per year, but only forty more per year since the 60’s. (and none during the “global warming pause”. Oh yeah the models also can’t accurately predict how many hurricanes we’ll have next year let alone global temps 50 years from now. Hey seeker! Maybe get those climate gurus to start the model fifty years ago and see if they can predict the weather for today! We would all be supposedly dust , that’s why they don’t. Stick to the facts, Seeker!!

  3. YouTubeY2K * Author

    Some ancient alien penguin race might know and they might know about the dolphins plans to temporarily collaborate with octopus races to take over the earth for the reason we choose to accept using methods of life that destroy the environment, supposedly the only place we are stuck on we can live and live good. Even if there were known worlds like this we can get to relatively easy not like they are telling the rest of us or planning on saving us all. Yeah just let em fight and pollute to death while we egg it on while we hide things and wait. They bet yellow stone will take care of a lot of the population. Jk jk jk.

  4. الأمن المعلوماتي Author

    The north pole might have been inhabited in ancient times but it is more probable to find remnants of old civilization in the Sahara desert since it had been once a place covered with a multitude of greenery .

  5. Rursus Author

    A dead satellite with a "cute little butt?" I'm a nerd, and even though I'm not an asperger savant, this seems a little hard to parse for me. I would f.ex. never consider changing diapers on my (hypothetical) car powdering it in the bum, so that it go-go-go-ga-ga-ga smiles at me, because it is a dead machine of metals and other stuff.

  6. Boris Johnson Author

    You said Antarctica has 60-90 % of the worlds fresh water, but Antarctica’s land area is 10 % of the land on earth. So where would the rest of the fresh water be, in the ocean surrounding Antarctica?


    HISTORY IN THE ICE .? . BURY FOR CENTURIES .!!!!! .THERES OUR PAST FACTS .!!!!!! . NOT IN SPACE .!!!!!! .🛸📖🛸🔥🚀🚀🚀🙏🏾👍…

  8. ZIKE Author

    So it seems like we will have a massive flood since the earth crust is elastic once enough ice has melted the pressure on the crust will decrease but wouldn’t that mean the remaining ice that didn’t melt right away be sent in any direction because of the elastic crust would pop out like a rubber ball

  9. John Bear Author

    Yea NASA hides information from American people because they don't care…..they don't care about people…..and we should TRUST them?….i think not

  10. trumanhw Author

    Terra Incognita would appreciate if it the GEOID shown were acknowledged to be the magnification of the deviations from the spherical shape of the earth, which is INCREDIBLY smooth.

  11. Mr. lietome Author

    NASA " It's CGI cause it has to be, lower earth orbit won't allow us to see a whole view" not a sphere. The only fact you got correct where the three land masses… Everything after that was descriptive programming…lol

  12. Jackson Meitei Author

    Hi, I have a little doubt …. You said after all the ice gets melted…. The weight of the volume of ice over the earth crust will disappear…. But in my point of view..if we take same volume of ice and water and weigh it… The mass of water is more ….. And as the average water level will increase. … So the volume of water over the earth crust at that region will also increase…… And also taking into consideration the altitude of the glaciers….. Won't it be some what same mass resting over the earth crust..???
    I mean, the hypothesis that you are putting that the ground may surface at that region….. it may be wrong… rt.??? Just curious…. Hehe…..

  13. Sonac Author

    I wonder it will spring back up slowly. Or weather the ice's weight will reach a critical point and the bed rock will come smashing back up creating a huge tsunami. That could be pretty devastating.

  14. Lia PEACE Author

    You see slowy they are going to let you down easy about your poor globe that isn't a globe , next week it will get squished and fall and now stuck and implanted unmovable after an asteroid hit it , but we couldn't feel it because we were working and just a bunch of dumb ass human zombies. If your bible tells you of great deception and you don't believe it, why do you believe in the bible and God.. It.the just of just metaphors that have no meaning at all, there life basing the concepts in it. ITS EITHER TRUE AND OR NOT. SO IF PEOPLE FEEL ITS JUST NOT TO HE TAKEN LITERALLY.WHAT DO.YOU BASE YOUR.FAITH ON? PARTS OF IT.??? SEPARATE, DIVIDE AND CONQUER

  15. Lia PEACE Author

    Inanimate objects living these days? Oh no It died???? Did they not give it a proper burial. How is it when your dead they can still manage to get information from you. Propaganda bullshit

  16. The open mind Author

    This is piffle. Pure speculation and conjecture. The Earth is likely to get colder in the next few decades, not warmer. We will not know though until it happens.


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