Some say that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler escaped to hidden base beneath the Antarctic ice and yes, many have actually tried to hunt him down. Finding him there will be the greatest discovery in at least one century. But hey, it is time that you extend your myopic view. There may be something more hidden beneath the ice. There may be secrets of our elusive solar system locked in some tiny rock lying frozen for millions of years, awaiting discovery. Scientists think that the secrets of solar system may be hidden in buried Antarctic meteors.
What kind of secrets are we talking about? We are talking about the secrets of how our solar system came to existence. A group of scientists hold the view that deep inside the Antarctic ice and yet close enough to the surface are small meteorites of the ancient past, frozen and silent, holding the secrets that mankind has been hunting since antiquity.
So, why look for buried Antarctic meteors?
This is a very valid question. One can argue that meteors are found almost everywhere on earth. Why the hell should one look for those tiny rocks in the frozen fields of earth? The answer to this question is pretty simple. In fact, it is unexpectedly simply! These rocks are dark and it is way easier to locate them on the white icy blankets compared to anywhere else on earth.
Moreover, the in many areas of Antarctica, Antarctic ice is known for constant upheavals. This means that ice from deep strata are pushed up towards the surface. In the process, meteors that are buried deep inside the ice are brought up close to the surface without any effort. These areas where the ice undergoes constant upheavals are named as MSZs or meteorite stranding zones.
A teeny-tiny problem with buried Antarctic meteors
Studies have revealed that meteorites that can give us answers to the questions of our solar system’s origin need to be ore-rich and metallic. Unfortunately, such meteors are rarely found in the frozen lands. It however doesn’t mean that they cannot be found there at all. They are present but finding them can be a Herculean task.
To solve this problem of finding the correct buried Antarctic meteors, Dr. Geoff Evatt and his team from University of Manchester decided to ask for help from Mathematics. Yes! They came up with a report (published here), where they said that ore-rich metallic meteors get quickly heated up by the sun compared to pure rock variants. These special meteorites, once heated up, start melting the ice around and underneath them. In this process they keep sinking deeper and deeper into the ice. The mathematical model used by the team states that:
- The meteorites always stay buried in the ice because of the opposite movements of sinking of the metallic meteors and the upward movement of ice (i.e. constant upheavals).
- The meteorites fail to sync too deep and stay at a depth of anywhere between 4 and 20 inches or 10 and 50 centimeters.
According to Dr. Geoff Evatt, this is really good news and all he and his team has to do is locate a treasure trove of such buried Antarctic meteors and get some samples from them. These special meteorites, according to scientists, are guardians of the secrets of solar system’s primordial chaos. They say that these meteorites broke off from planets as they bombarded into each other when the solar system was just beginning to form. So, what do you think? Will these scientists unlock the great mystery? We don’t know! All we can do is wish them good luck.