Ghost Peaks, Buried in Ice, in Antarctica.
Cosma Shalizi writes:
Ghost Peaks, Buried in Ice: [T]his has me terrified:
It is perhaps the last great Antarctic expedition - to find an explanation for why there is a great mountain range buried under the White Continent. The Gamburtsevs match the Alps in scale but no-one has ever seen them because they are covered by up to 4km of ice. Geologists struggle to understand how such a massif could have formed and persisted in the middle of Antarctica. Now, an international team is setting out on a deep-field survey to try to get some answers. The group comprises scientists, engineers, pilots and support staff from the UK, the US, Germany, Australia, China and Japan.
The ambitious nature of the project - working in Antarctica's far interior - has required an exceptional level of co-ordination and co-operation.... "There are two easy ways to make mountains," explained Dr Robin Bell, from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who is a lead US researcher on the expedition. "One is colliding continents, but after they collide they tend to erode; and the last collision was 500-million-plus years ago. They shouldn't be there. The other way is a hotspot, [with volcanoes punching through the crust] like in Hawaii; but there's no good evidence for underneath the ice sheet being that hot. I like to say it's rather like being an archaeologist and opening up a tomb in a pyramid and finding an astronaut sitting inside. It shouldn't be there."...
The expedition gets under way in the next few weeks and will take some two-and-a-half months to complete.
Space-travelers. In tombs. In an inaccessible, highly anomalous mountain-range in Antartica. Do the fools know nothing? Or do they know only too much?
I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the Antarctic — with its vast fossil hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice caps. And I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain...