Underneath Antarctica’s vast ice sheets there’s a network of rivers and lakes. This is possible because of the insulating blanket of ice above, the flow of heat from within the Earth, and the small amount of heat generated as the ice deforms.
Water lubricates the base of the ice sheets, allowing the ice to slide towards the ocean at speeds of many hundreds of metres per year. When the water emerges from beneath the ice, it enters a cold and salty cavity underneath ice shelves, the floating extensions of ice sheets that fringe the continent.
View entirety: Maritime Executive