What lies hidden beneath the Antarctic ice ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 euphro
Scientists have used satellite data to map out the terrain hidden beneath the ice of the southernmost continent.
The study used data from the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite which precisely measured the pull of Earth's gravity to map out hidden landmasses.
While the satellite mission itself ended in 2013, the data it collected is still proving invaluable.
Antarctica was once part of a much larger supercontinent known as Gondwana which began to break apart sometime around 130 million years ago.
By combining the satellite data with seismological data, scientists have been able to map out hidden geological features in the Earth's lithosphere - the outer shell consisting of the crust and mantle.
This has, in turn, helped to highlight the terrain beneath the ice and how it evolved over time.
"In East Antarctica we see an exciting mosaic of geological features that reveal fundamental similarities and differences between the crust beneath Antarctica and other continents it was joined to," said team member Fausto Ferraccioli from the British Antarctic Survey.
A 3D recreation showing how Antarctica's plate tectonics have changed over the last 200 million years can be viewed below.