International Polar Year, or IPY (2007-2009) is by far the most exciting international scientific and educational opportunity of this century. For the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the physical, social and human dimensions of our planet's polar regions. Watch this blog for news related to Canadian outreach and education efforts related to IPY. Of particular interest to educators! Note: This blog is created independently of any official IPY organization

Friday, January 25, 2008

Learning About Antarctica’s Past

Learning About Antarctica’s Past

Rock near surface of lake ice, Lake Bonney, Antarctica

Did you know that Antarctica was once a warm place? It is hard to imagine, but millions of years ago, the coldest, driest, and windiest place on earth was actually ice-free and inhabited by trees, plants, dinosaurs, and small mammals.

Approximately 500 million years ago, Antarctica was part of a supercontinent called Gondwana. The large land mass included Australia, peninsular India, Africa, South America, and Antarctica.

Gondwana began to break apart about 180 million years ago. Antarctica became a separate continent approximately 120 million years ago and slowly drifted to the southern end of earth’s axis. Antarctica has been in a polar location for the last 100 million years.

Glaciers began to form on Antarctica about 38 million years ago, and the continent has been covered by ice for about the last 15 million years.

Why teach about Antarctica’s past?

A common misconception about the polar regions is that they have always been cold and isolated.... (more at site)

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