Wellington, May 13 : Scientists drilling deep into Antarctica have uncovered evidence of a once-warm land, including pollen and algae, buried below the sea floor, which suggests that the frozen continent has warmed before.
According to a report in the Dominion Post, based on findings from the Andrill drilling project, Victoria University geologist Peter Barrett said that Antarctica was a pulsating environment where widespread melting had happened before and could happen again.
The Andrill project takes core samples from more than a kilometre beneath the Antarctic ice sheet.
"A core sample is the same thing to a geologist as a telescope is to an astronomer," Professor Barrett said.
Drilling had uncovered signs of cycles of ice sheet expansion and retreat - in 40,000-year cycles - several million years ago.
Around 30 million years ago, parts of the Antarctic coast were green, with daytime highs of up to 12 degrees celsius, according to Professor Barrett.
"What it shows is that the West Antarctica ice sheet is pulsating, and as equally dynamic as the Arctic," he added.