A peculiar feature spotted amid the frozen expanse of Antarctica via satellite observation ended up baffling scientists studying the remote continent, prompting an investigation into the nature of that strange discovery, the Daily Express reports.
The image in question appeared to “show something had crash-landed”, with aviation journalist Joe Pappalardo remarking that to him, “it looks like something landed there extremely quickly and skated to a halt”, the newspaper notes citing Science Channel’s “What on Earth?” series.
“Maybe something had crashed”, Pappalardo mused. “When you think about something crashing in that part of the world you think about the worst air disaster in New Zealand’s history.”
The journalist was referring to the Mount Erebus disaster which occurred on 28 November 1979 when Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into the mountain, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board.
However, analyst Marc D’Antonio argued that the feature depicted in the image does not resemble the product of a plane crash.
“It looks like someone was scraping along the ice to make the gigantic furrow”, he said. “But if we look at this object over here, this little rock shows the shadow – it is an elevated feature.”
The mystery was finally dispelled when a visit by NASA scientist Dr. Kelly Brunt to the site revealed “a seven-mile-long wall of jagged ice protruding from the frozen seas of McMurdo Sound”.
“It is a rare type of glacier feature created by millions of tonnes of ice flowing from the base of Mount Erebus into the frozen seas”, the series concluded.