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What Antarctica Looked Like Before it was Covered with Ice

Antonia R.Antonia R.

Antarctica wasn't always the ice shelf that we know today. A new find indicates that the continent contained 3 mountain chains and rich vegetation.

The discovery was made by scientists from Northumbria University in Newcastle, Great Britain. The find has been called one of the most important geological discoveries in the history of the Earth, reports Science Alert.

Three mountain chains have been found, with vast valleys in between them. It is theorized that these areas were once inhabited; the conditions would have allowed for the development of various life forms.

The length of the largest mountain range sprawls an impressive 217 mi (350 km) and its width - 20 mi (32 km). For years on end the ice has kept this part of the history of the southern continent hidden but increased rates of polar ice cap melting has actually made scientists' job easier.

Antarctic penguins

Of course, the melting of the ice, its thinning, could lead to larger waves in the ocean. The mountain ranges themselves may steed up the ice's drift toward the ocean.

The British study is part of the Polar Gap project of the European Space Agency. It utilizes modern radar technology for peaking beneath the ice.

The world's ocean levels could rise quite faster than predicted due to the increased rate of melting ice in Antarctica.