Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Found: A Glimpse of the World Under Antarctica’s Ice

It’s surprisingly warm down there.

In East Antarctica, under sea ice that grows five feet thick, there’s a whole ecosystem of marine life that thrives year-round. It’s surprisingly warm in the water under the ice—or at least not as frigid as one might expect. The water temperature here hovers around 30°F, and the sea ice protects from storms above.

When a team of scientists with the Australian Antarctic Program sent a robot down into O’Brien Bay to fetch a data logger, they had the robot collect video footage of the world under the ice. They found colorful “sponges, sea spiders, urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars,” Science Alert reports. It’s just one more demonstration of how life can flourish even in places we humans would rather not go.