Scientists say they can now explain the existence of what are perhaps Earth’s most extraordinary mountains.
The Gamburtsevs are the size of the European Alps and yet they are totally buried beneath the Antarctic ice.
Their discovery in the 1950s was a major surprise. Most people had assumed the rock bed deep within the continent would be flat and featureless.
Survey data now suggests the range first formed over a billion years ago, researchers tell the journal Nature.
The Gamburtsev Mountain Range (also known as the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains) is a subglacial mountain range located in Eastern Antarctica, near Dome A. The range was discovered by the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1958 and is named for Soviet geophysicist Grigoriy A. Gamburtsev. It is approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) long, and the mountains are believed to be about 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) high, although they are completely covered by over 600 metres (2,000 ft) of ice and snow. The Gamburtsev Mountain Range is currently believed to be about the same size as the European Alps.