Skip to comments.Antarctica- not always so cold and remote
Posted on 12/18/2009 10:04:01 PM PST by Yollopoliuhqui
not always so cold and remote....
Antarctica harbours bones of dinosaur sand petrified rain forests. Did continental-drift bring Antarctica to the poles...or was it a shift in the earths axis that not only caused the death of the Mega fauna, but placed a massive ice sheet on the continent?
In 1929, a group of historians found an amazing map drawn on a gazelle skin. Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century. His passion was cartography. His high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. The Turkish admiral admits, in a series of notes on the map, that he compiled and copied the data from a large number of source maps, some of which dated back to the fourth century BC or earlier.
The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC.
On 6th July 1960 the U. S. Air Force responded to Prof. Charles H. Hapgood of Keene College, specifically to his request for an evaluation of the ancient Piri Reis Map:
6, July, 1960
Subject: Admiral Piri Reis Map
TO: Prof. Charles H. Hapgood
Keene, New Hampshire
Dear Professor Hapgood,
Your request of evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis map of 1513 by this organization has been reviewed.
The claim that the lower part of the map portrays the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctic, and the Palmer Peninsular, is reasonable. We find that this is the most logical and in all probability the correct interpretation of the map.
The geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the seismic profile made across the top of the ice-cap by the Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1949.
This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.
The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick.
We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.
Harold Z. Ohlmeyer Lt. Colonel, USAF Commander
The official science has been saying all along that the ice-cap which covers the Antarctic is million years old.
The Piri Reis map shows that the northern part of that continent has been mapped before the ice did cover it. That should make us think it has been mapped million years ago, but that's impossible since mankind did not exist at that time.
Further and more accurate studies have proven that the last period of ice-free condition in the Antarctic ended about 6000 years ago. There are still doubts about the beginning of this ice-free period, which has been put by different researchers everywhere between year 13000 and 9000 BC.
The question is: Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?
It is well-known that the first civilization, according to the traditional history, developed in the mid-east around year 3000 BC, soon to be followed within a millennium by the Indus valley and the Chinese ones. So, accordingly, none of the known civilizations could have done such a job. Who was here 4000 years BC, being able to do things that NOW are possible with the modern technologies?
All through the Middle Ages there were a number of sailing charts called "portolani" circulating, which were accurate maps of the most common sailing routes showing coastlines, harbors, straits, bays, etc. Most of those portolani focused on the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas, and other known routes, just like the sailing book which Piri Reis himself had written. But a few reported of still unknown lands, and were circulating among a few sailors who seemingly kept their knowledge about those special maps as hidden as they could. Columbus is supposed to have been one of those who knew these special sailing charts.
To draw his map, Piri Reis used several different sources, collected here and there along his journeys. He has written his own notes on the map that give us a picture of the work he had been doing. He says he had been not responsible for the original surveying and cartography. His role was merely that of a compiler who used a large number of source-maps. He says then that some of the source-maps had been drawn by contemporary sailors, while others were instead charts of great antiquity, dating back up to the 4th century BC or earlier.
Dr. Charles Hapgood, in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface), said that:
It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there.
Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times.
According to Hapgood's reconstruction, copies of these documents and some of the original source charts were transferred to other centers of learning, and among them to Constantinople. Then in 1204, year of the fourth crusade, when the Venetians entered Constantinople, those maps begun to circulate among the European sailors.
Most of these maps - Hapgood goes on - were of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. But maps of other areas survived. These included maps of the Americas and maps of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It becomes clear that the ancient voyagers travelled from pole to pole. Unbelievable as it may appear, the evidence nevertheless indicates that some ancient people explored Antarctic when its coasts were free of ice. It is clear too, that they had an instrument of navigation for accurately determining the longitudes that was far superior to anything possessed by the peoples of ancient, medieval or modern times until the second half of the 18th century.
This evidence of a lost technology will support and give credence to many of the other hypothesis that have been brought forward of a lost civilization in remote times. Scholars have been able to dismiss most of those evidences as mere myth, but here we have evidence that cannot be dismissed. The evidence requires that all the other evidences that have been brought forward in the past should be re-examined with an open mind." (Ibid.)
In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him. After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used. To check out the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw map of such accuracy was the aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth?
The Hydrographic Office couldn't believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps! The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use the spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century.
Hapgood has proved that the Piri Re'is map is plotted out in plane geometry, containing latitudes and longitudes at right angles in a traditional "grid"; yet it is obviously copied from an earlier map that was projected using spherical trigonometry! Not only did the early map makers know that the Earth was round, but they had knowledge of its true circumference to within 50 miles!
Hapgood had sent his collection of ancient maps (we will see the Piri reis map was not the only one...) to Richard Strachan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hapgood wanted to know exactly the mathematical level needed in order to draw the original source maps. Strachan answered in 1965, saying that the level had to be very high.
In fact Strachan said that in order to draw such maps, the authors had to know about the spheroid trigonometry, the curvature of the earth, methods of projection; knowledge that is of a very high level. The way the Piri Reis map shows the Queen Maud land, its coastlines, its rivers, mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, bays, has been confirmed by a British-Swedish expedition to Antarctic ( as said by Olhmeyer in his letter to Hapggod); the researchers, using sonar and seismic soundings, indicated that those bays and rivers etc, were underneath the ice-cap, which was about one mile thick.
Another amazing chart is the one drawn by the Turkish Hadji Ahmed, year 1559, in which he shows a land stripe, about 1600 Km. wide, that joins Alaska and Siberia. Such a natural bridge has been then covered by the water due to the end of the glacial period, which rose up the sea level. Oronteus Fineus was another one who drew a map of incredible precision. He too represented the Antarctic with no ice-cap, year 1532. There are maps showing Greenland as two separated islands, as it was confirmed by a polar French expedition which found out that there is an ice cap quite thick joining what it is actually two islands.
As we saw, many charts in the ancient times pictured, we might say, all the earth geography. They seem to be pieces of a very ancient world wide map, drawn by unknown people who were able to use technology that we consider to be a conquer of the very modern times. At a time when human beings were supposedly living in a primitive manner, someone "put on paper" the whole geography of the earth. And this common knowledge somehow fell into pieces, then gathered here and there by several people, who had lost though the knowledge, and just copied what they could find in libraries, bazaars, markets and about all kind of places.
Hapgood made a disclosure which amazingly lead further on this road: he found out a cartographic document copied by an older source carved on a rock column, China, year 1137. It showed the same high level of technology of the other western charts, the same grid method, the same use of spheroid trigonometry. It has so many common points with the western ones that it makes think more than reasonably, that there had to be a common source: could it be a lost civilization, maybe the same one which has been chased by thousands years so far?
The Piri Re'is map is often exhibited in cases seeking to prove that civilization was once advanced and that, through some unknown event or events, we are only now gaining any understanding of this mysterious cultural decline. The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, appear out of nowhere around 4,000 B.C. but have no nautical or maritime cultural heritage. They do, however, speak reverently of ancestral people who were like the "gods" and were known as the nefilim.
Here is a summary of some of the most unusual findings about the map:
Scrutiny of the map shows that the makers knew the accurate circumference of the Earth to within 50 miles.
The coastline and island that are shown in Antarctica must have been navigated at some period prior to 4,000 B.C. when these areas were free of ice from the last Ice Age.
Piri Re'is own commentary indicates that some of his source maps were from the time of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.).
The Oronteus Finaeus Map of Antarctica redrawn on the modern equidistant azimuthal polar projection, compares with the modern map of Antarctica on the same projection (Christian Science Monitor).
A comparison of the Oronteus Finaeus Map with the map of the subglacial land surfaces of Antarctica produced by survey teams or various nations during the International Geophysical Year (1958) seems to explain some of the apparent short-comings of the Oronteus Finaeus Map, and at the same time throws some light on the question of the probable extent of glacial conditions when the original maps were drawn. In 1959, however, in the Library of Congress, Hapgood noticed a presumably authentic map that instantly wiped out his doubts: a map of what was almost certainly Antarctica, done in 1531 by the French cartographer Oronce Fine, also known as Oronteus Finaeus.To even the most skeptical, the Oronteus Finaeus map is startling. Although it was printed in a book in 1531 - and was thus not subject to subsequent amendment - it is remarkably similar to today's maps of Antarctica. Admittedly it is too close to the tip of South America, and it is incorrectly oriented, yet the proportions seem similar, the coastal mountains, found in the 1957 geophysical study are in roughly the right places and so are many bays and rivers. Furthermore, the shape of South America itself seems right, and the close resemblance between a modern, scientifically exact map of the Ross Sea and Finaeus' unnamed gulf is striking.
What is different, however, is that the Oronteus Finaeus map does not seem to show the great shelves of ice that, today, surround the continent, nor the great glaciers that fringe the coastal regions. Instead there seem to be estuaries and inlets, suggesting great rivers. To Hapgood and his team, that meant that at some time in the past the Ross Sea and its coasts - scene of the November, 1979 air disaster on Mount Erebus - and some of the hinterland of Antarctica were free of ice. It also suggested to Hapgood that since the Antarctic was certainly ice-bound in 1531 - when Oronteus Finaeus made his map - Finaeus must have had access to very ancient maps indeed: maps made when Antarctica was largely free of the mile-thick ice cap that buries it today, and presumably has covered it for millennia.
There is, moreover, the perplexing problem of the Oronteus Finaeus map. Even if Piri Reis "Antarctica" turns out to be South America - drawn horizontally - or even Australia, the Finnaeus "Antarctica" is surely Antarctica and his map was also drawn in the 16th century: 1531. Where did Oronteus Finaeus get his far more detailed and accurate information? And why does Finaeus also show Antarctica without an ice cap? Furthermore, the Hapgood team identified 50 geographical points on the Finaeus map, as re-projected, whose latitudes and longitudes were located quite accurately in latitude and longitude, some of them quite close to the pole. "The mathematical probability against this being accidental," says Hapgood, "is astronomical"
So how did this happen to be recorded in not one but at least four maps? Either our "known" history of human beings on this planet is wrong, our 'history' of our planet's development is wrong, there were highly developed civilizations on Earth that we are ignoring because it doesn't fit into the established "norm" or the ancient maps that predated these and were used as reference were done by alien cartographers or someone - drawing our planet from the air.
Another tidbit of proof is the Ross sea. Today huge glaciers feed into it, making it a floating ice shelf hundreds of feet thick. Yet this map and the Reis map show estuaries and rivers at the site. In 1949 coring was done to take samples of the ice and sediment at the bottom of the Ross Sea. They clearly showed several layers of stratification, meaning the area went through several environmental changes. Some of the sediments were of the type usually brought down to the sea by rivers. Tests done at the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC, which date radioactive elements found in sea water, dated the sediments at about 4000 BC, which would mean the area was ice free with flowing rivers up until that time - exactly what is recorded on the Reis and
To put it another away, Hapgood's work simply cannot be lumped with the lunatic fringe and he certainly cannot be held responsible for the Chariots - level offshoots that fed on his research. Although unquestionably an amateur theoretician, he did do his homework and had it thoroughly checked by professionals. The U.S. Air Force SAC cartographers, for example, worked with him for two years and fully endorsed his conclusions about Antarctica.
From Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood
Antarctic Forests Reveal Ancient Trees
By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News
Nov. 5, 2004 A quarter-billion years ago, forested islands flashed with autumnal hues near the South Pole a polar scene unlike any today, researchers say.
Geologists have discovered in Antarctica the remains of three ancient deciduous forests complete with fossils of fallen leafs scattered around the tree trunks. The clusters of petrified tree stumps were found upright in the original living positions they held during the Permian period.
This classic interpretation of fossiln age though is highly controversial. New laboratory experiments are showing that fossilization is a rapid process under certain conditions. Furtermore new evidence is at hand that electro fossilization is an element that has been totally ignored. High voltage electricity either from within the earth of from possible cosmogenic effects such as comets or coronal mass ejections may be the major cause of petrification and fossilization.
What dies is thus quickly recycled biotically, unless some geological intervention occurs. And this intervention that fossilizes is almost always connected to the cause of death. The fossil record therefore is distorted as to populations of the
species and to a lesser degree to the kinds and numbers of species.
Not all is known about fossilization, and less is realized. Ardrey mentions that the waters of Lake Victoria (Africa) were once fossilizing animals quickly and well because of some unknown quality probably not now present. E.R. Milton describes his examination of a petrified tree trunk in Alberta (Canada) :
The piece... was pure clear silica inside, it was coated with a rougher opaque crust of partially fused sand. The tree whose stump was petrified was alive five years ago! After the tree was cut down to accommodate the right of way for a new power transmission line, an accidental break allowed the live high-voltage wire to contact several tree stumps still in the ground. The power was cut off within hours of the break. All of the tree roots which contacted the broken wire were fossilized... Obviously, electricity can metamorphose matter quickly.
One's mind reverts to earlier passages of this book where the presence of heavy electric fields and poisonous gases are given credence; perhaps these may have helped in the fossilizing process.
A fossil is typically an accident, a disaster, an anomaly.....
ANTACTIC FOSSILIZED FORESTS
Fossilised stumps were even poking up through the snowfield in the Beardmore Glacier area, said geologist Molly Miller of Vanderbilt University.
"These were not scrubby little things," Miller said. "These were big trees."
Some are estimated to have attained heights of 80 feet (24.6 meters), based on their trunk diameter.
Miller, Tim Cully and graduate student Nichole Knepprath came upon the three stands of the lost forests in December 2003. Knepprath will be presenting their discovery on Sunday at the meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver.
Unlike any trees today, Glossopteris trees lived in stands as thick as almost a thousand per acre just 20 or 25 degrees from the South Pole, a latitude at which they received no sunlight for half the year. As for what they looked like, Glossopteris tapered upwards like a Christmas tree. Instead of needles, they had large, broad lance-shaped leaves that fell to the ground at the end of summer. It's unknown if the leaves turned colors, said Miller, but it seems likely.
Miller says they lived at a time when the Antarctic climate was much warmer "We don't have any modern analogues to these polar forests," said paleobotanist David Cantrill, curator at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm.
The fossilized tree rings in the Glossopteris trees reveal that they grew steadily each summer and abruptly stopped for winter, as if a switch had been thrown.
Modern deciduous trees slow down and then stop growing when cold weather moves in.
Although fossil trees from the Permian have been found before in Antarctica, this is the first time whole stands of trees have been discovered, said Cantrill. With stands, researchers can now measure the spacing and calculate sizes of the trees to glean information about how much sunlight and energy was available valuable and rare clues to the Permian climate.
Antarctic Fossil Questions from the "Thunderbolts" website
There's a petrified forest in Antarctica peeking through perpetual snow where today nothing bigger than bacteria grows. The trees resemble today's Christmas trees, but instead of needles they had leaves (see photo) The trees grew thickly (a thousand or more per acre) and tall (up to 80 feet). They are dated late Permian, 260 million years ago, one of many times when Earth appears to be have been much warmer than today.
From a catastrophist point of view, there are many questions raised by the Antarctic forest. How accurate is the system by which the trees were dated? Was late Permian really 260 million years ago? Geologists consider this figure accurate, along with the "known" age of the Earth. And it's all backed by absolute radiometric dating techniques. Fifty years ago, they were equally confident of a different age, and another age fifty years before that. But this time they're sure they've got it right.
Two of the basic assumptions on which radiometric dating is based are that the Earth is an isolated body in space unaffected by interactions with other bodies and that the decay constant is a constant. No matter what, no matter where, the half-life of a particular radioactive isotope remains the same.
Catastrophists, who collect evidence that the Earth has been subjected to discontinuous and disruptive events, are quick to point out the flaws in radiometric dating results. A search of Ian Tresman's Catastrophism CD on-line (see link below) will generate 101 different references to radiometric dating in catastrophist literature. Most of these articles are about anomalies in radiometric dating and how they are explained away by those who accept the conventional dating without question. Others refer to research showing that changing electric fields can change the decay rate.
In addition, Russian researchers S. E. Schnoll, et al, have been studying the effects of celestial cycles on the decay constant for over 30 years. They document changes in the decay constant and in chemical reaction rates that correlate with moonrise/moonset, eclipses, the sidereal and synodic day, the year, and the sunspot cycle.
Each of these cycles shows that the decay rate is connected to something. From an Electric Universe point of view, that something is probably electric currents in space. The synodic day variations (sunrise to sunrise) would correlate to the Sun's electric currents, while the sidereal day variations (from star-rise to star-rise, just under four minutes shorter than the synodic day) would correlate to something from beyond the solar system, such as the galactic electric currents.
Schnoll, et al, document that solar activity affects the decay rate of Plutonium239. This activity peaks when there are active solar flares or CME's. The decay rate spike occurs immediately after the solar activity, or 2 to 3 days before the solar wind arrives to change the Earth's geomagnetic field. This may mean that the cause of the changed decay rate arrives at Earth at the speed of light (or faster). Or it may mean that both the changes in decay rate and the solar activity have a common cause in galactic-scale electric currents.
If catastrophic changes to the solar system have occurred, then radio decay constants have changed. If the plasma discharge phenomena we call the thunderbolts of the gods actually flew between Earth and other planets, this too would have changed the radio decay constant (as well as the abundances of radioisotopes). In any case, the whole question of absolute dating must be re-evaluated from an electric universe point of view.
Scott discovered fossils of warm-climate ferns but Schackleton was the explorer who discovered coal.
Coal comes from fossilized plants. Iit must have been warm enough for plants to grow: in ice-bound Antarctica.
Coal has been found in two regions in Antarctica - the Transantarctic Mountains and Prince Charles Mountains. Meteorites
On January, 2008, the British Antarctic Survey (Bas) scientists led by Hugh Corr and David Vaughan, reported (in the journal Nature Geoscience) that 2,200 years ago, a volcano erupted under Antarctica ice sheet (based on airborne survey with radar images). The biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, the volcanic ash was found deposited on the ice surface under the Hudson Mountains, close to Pine Island Glacier
USEFUL FACTS ON ANTARCTICA
It covers an area of almost 14 million square km and contains 30 million cubic km of ice.
Around 90 percent of the fresh water on the Earth's surface is held in the ice sheet, an amount equivalent to 70 m of water in the world's oceans.
In East Antarctica, the ice sheet rests on a major land mass, but in West Antarctica the bed can extend to more than 2500m below sea level.
The land would be seabed if the ice sheet were not there. Ice enters the sheet through snow and frost and leaves by calving of icebergs and melting, usually at the base but also sometimes at the surface
1."What If All the Ice Melts?" Myths and Realities
by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 29 December 2005
(See Comments on global warming for a general discussion of the science of global warming.)
"If we keep using cars, the ice caps will melt and we'll all drown!" This is a myth, just as false as fearing the Sun will die as a result of using solar power. However, as often as I hear it--particularly from people who should know better--I thought I would address it here. First, here is a summary of the facts:
Despite what you may have been told, it has NOT been proven that human-caused global warming is occurring, and in fact there is substantial reason to reject such claims.
The best explanation for the evidence is that whatever global warming trend exists is mostly the result of natural influences like variations in the climate system and variations in solar radiation.
The suggestions that human activities will cause significant changes in global temperature and sea level in the next century are flawed predictions which haven't been confirmed by observations.
The solutions to this apparently non-existent problem proposed by environmentalists would not have a significant effect on climate, but they would cause a significant amount of human suffering.
Based on what we know now, in the next 100 years a rise in sea level of 0.1 meters (4 inches) would not be surprising; those predicting changes of 0.5-2 meters (1.5-7 feet) are using flawed models.
If all the icecaps in the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 60-75 meters (200-250 feet). This could not result from modern human activities, and from any realistic cause would take thousands of years to occur.
I have discussed the first four points (which are non-trivial and deserve extended discussion) in Global warming, Some scientific data on global climate change, and "Facts disprove warnings about global warming", and the fifth point in Facts and figures on sea level rise. I will mostly address the last point--not just to dispel the notion that we need worry, but also because it is a valid and interesting thing to be curious about.
I. The world's ice
Currently the Earth has permanent ice in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, plus much smaller permanent glaciers in various mountain regions of the world. This ice is "permanent", however, only over the short timespan of modern human civilization. Additionally there are two large ice sheets floating in seas off Antarctica, plus floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding Antarctica. Geological evidence indicates very clearly that at times in the Earth's past icecaps were much larger in extent--and alternately, at other times icecaps were virtually nonexistent.
Currently there are about 30,000,000 cubic kilometers of ice in the world's icecaps and glaciers. This volume of ice is fairly well measured (within 5-15%) by surveying the top of the icecaps with methods like radar and laser altimetry, locating the bottom of the ice with methods like seismic soundings, and calculating the difference. A breakdown is as follows:
World ice inventory
Location Volume (km3) Fraction of
world ice Change in volume
since 1960 (km3) ** comments
Continental glaciers and ice fields* 87,000 (± 10,000)  0.29 % -4,700 [2,3,4] grounded
Greenland ice cap 2,930,000 (2,620,000 to 3,000,000) [5,6,7,8,9] 9.8 % -2,000 [6,10,11,12,13,14] grounded
Greenland continental glaciers ~50,000 (± 20,000?)  0.17 % -350 [3,4] grounded
Arctic Ocean pack ice 16,000 summer, 24,000 winter [16,17] 0.01 % -3,000 [16,18,29] floating
East Antarctic Ice Sheet 23,000,000 (21,800,000 to 26,040,000) [5,6,8,19] 76.8 % +10,000 [6,20,21] grounded
West Antarctic Ice Sheet 3,000,000 (3,000,000 to 3,260,000) [5,19] 10.0 % -4,500 [21,22,23] grounded
Antarctic Peninsula ice cap 227,000 [5,24] 0.76 % (included with EAIS) grounded
Antarctic continental glaciers ~50,000 (± 20,000?)  0.17 % -700 [3,4] grounded
Ross Ice Shelf 230,000  0.77 % -2,000 [26,27] floating
Ronne-Filcher ice shelves 344,000  1.17 % -2,000 [26,27] mostly floating
South polar pack ice 4,000 summer, 19,000 winter  0.08 % +100  floating
Total world ice ~29,960,000 100 % -9,150
--grounded ice only ~29,340,000 97.9 % -2,250 grounded
--floating ice only ~620,000 2.1 % -6,900 floating
Notes to table: These values are approximate; sources are given, which have in some cases been indirectly used to estimate volumes; errors in interpretation should be assigned to me, not to the original sources.
* Continental glaciers and ice fields--outside Greenland and Antarctica.
** Changes in volume are very uncertain; these values may be taken as illustrative. In most cases these are measurements over a limited time range extrapolated to the total change in volume from 1960 to 2005. Some values are based on models, not directly on measurements.
Grounded ice is ice resting on the ground rather than floating. The melting of floating ice will not change sea level: the mass of this ice is equal to that of the water it displaces (watch the water level in a cup of floating ice cubes as they melt). For comparison, globally ice (both grounded and floating) represents about 2% of the world's water, with about 1,350,000,000 km3 of water in the oceans.
During the last Ice Age the maximum extent of glaciation was around 16,000 B.C. At that time large ice sheets covered all of Canada, much of the American midwest and northeast, all of Scandinavia and some surrounding regions of Eurasia. The total volume of ice then was perhaps 80,000,000 cubic kilometers, or between two and three times as much as today. Correspondingly, world sea level was about 120 meters lower [6,30].
11. Why melting is not a threat
While today's balance between the icecaps and global sea level has been relatively steady since about 1000 B.C., it would be careless to assume that this is the Earth's natural state and that it should always be this way. What could happen to climate naturally in the next few thousand years? If the Earth continued to warm and break from ice age conditions, some of the remaining ice caps could melt. On the other hand, climate might swing back into another ice age. (In fact, some of the environmentalists now worried about global warming were worried about another ice age in the 1960s and 1970s.)
In either case, such a change in climate would take thousands of years to accomplish. Note that it has taken 18,000 years to melt 60% of the ice from the last ice age. The remaining ice is almost entirely at the north and south poles and is isolated from warmer weather. To melt the ice of Greenland and Antarctica would take thousands of years under any realistic change in climate. In the case of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which accounts for 80% of the Earth's current ice, Sudgen argues that it existed for 14,000,000 years, through wide ranges in global climate. The IPCC 2001 report states "Thresholds for disintegration of the East Antarctic ice sheet by surface melting involve warmings above 20° C... In that case, the ice sheet would decay over a period of at least 10,000 years."  The IPCC is the United Nations' scientific committee on climate change; its members tend to be the minority that predicts global warming and its statements tend to be exaggerated by administrators before release. Given that the IPCC tends to exaggerate the potential for sea level rise, it is clear that no scientists on either side of the scientific debate on global warming fear the melting of the bulk of Antarctica's ice. Consider also this abstract of an article by Jacobs contrasting scientific and popular understanding:
A common public perception is that global warming will accelerate the melting of polar ice sheets, causing sea level to rise. A common scientific position is that the volume of grounded Antarctic ice is slowly growing, and will damp future sea-level rise. At present, studies supporting recent shrinkage or growth depend on limited measurements that are subject to high temporal and regional variability, and it is too early to say how the Antarctic ice sheet will behave in a warmer world. 
This statement alludes to the significant point that the Antarctic ice cap appears to currently be growing rather than shrinking. In fact, were the climate to warm significantly in the next few centuries (not a certain future, but supposing it happened), current models suggest that Antarctica would gain ice, with increased snowfall more than offsetting increased melting.
How much concern should we have about the 20% of world ice outside the East Antarctic Ice Sheet? Some sources have recently discussed the "possible collapse" of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). It is suggested that this sheet (about 10% of Antarctic ice) could melt in the "near term" (a usefully vague phrase) and raise sea level 5 to 6 meters. Current understanding is that the WAIS has been melting for the last 10,000 years, and that its current behavior is a function of past, not current climate.  The abstract of an article by Alley and Whillans addresses this:
The portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet that flows into the Ross Sea is thinning in some places and thickening in others. These changes are not caused by any current climatic change, but by the combination of a delayed response to the end of the last global glacial cycle and an internal instability. The near-future impact of the ice sheet on global sea level is largely due to processes internal to the movement of the ice sheet, and not so much to the threat of a possible greenhouse warming. Thus the near-term future of the ice sheet is already determined. However, too little of the ice sheet has been surveyed to predict its overall future behavior. 
Similarly, recent stories have periodically appeared concerning the potential receding of the Greenland ice cap. Two points may be made regarding current understanding here. First, there is considerable disagreement as to the current rate of net ice cap loss--or even if there is net loss versus net gain. Second, even with temperature increases far greater than the dubious predictions of the IPCC, models indicate that Greenland's ice cap would take 2,000 to 10,000 years to disappear.
Some discussion of the concerns about near term sea level rise may be found in Facts and figures on sea level rise. The predictions that have been made for ice cap melting in the next century rely mostly on melting of glaciers in mountain regions, not melting of the polar ice caps. Even the pessimistic models cited by the IPCC tend to predict an increase in the volume of the Antarctic ice cap with warmer temperatures due to increased snowfalls. In general temperature changes of a few degrees do not seem to be sufficient to begin to melt the polar ice caps, particularly the Antarctic ice cap.
III. Imagining the world without ice caps
As long as we understand that the polar ice caps are not going to melt in the foreseeable future, we can proceed to imagine what the world would be like if they did melt.
Using the ice volume figures from above it is straightforward to estimate the effect on sea level were all this ice melted. Melting the 29,300,000 km3 of grounded ice would produce 26,100,000 km3 of water. Note that melting of floating ice has no effect on sea level. Also, about 2,100,000 km3 of the grounded ice in Antarctica is below sea level  and would be replaced by water. Thus, the net addition to the world's oceans would be about 24,000,000 km3 of water spread over the 361,000,000 km2 area of the world's oceans, giving a depth of 67 meters. The new ocean area would be slightly larger, of course, since some areas now land would be covered with water. The final result would be around 66 meters (current estimates range between 63 and 75 meters).
What would the Earth look like as a result? If sea level were 66 meters higher than today, the result would be as illustrated below (for the map I used below see this page):
Obviously some areas are affected more than others. Some larger areas now underwater are the southeastern United States, part of the Amazon River basin, northern Europe, Bangladesh, parts of Siberia along the Arctic Ocean, and portions of mainland China. A large area in Australia would be below sea level, but it is not joined to the ocean and could remain dry.
Today the Earth has 148 million sq. km of land area, of which 16 million sq. km is covered by glaciers. A sea level rise of 66 meters would flood about 13 million sq. km of land outside Antarctica. Without polar ice, Antarctica and Greenland would be ice free, although about half of Antarctica would be under water. Thus, ice-free land would be 128 million sq. km compared to 132 million sq. km today.
As a result, in terms of total habitable land area, the Earth might have more than today. The coastal areas reclaimed by the sea would be mostly offset by now habitable areas of Greenland and Antarctica. Again, remember that such climate change would take thousands of years. Over such time scales vegetation would be restored to newly ice-free regions even without human activity. Also, vast areas which are now desert and tundra would become more fit for human habitation and agriculture.
The illustrations above do not depict any changes in vegetation. In reality, local climates would be very different in ways that are currently difficult to predict. It might be that the warmer climate would lead to generally greater precipitation (this is suggested by comparison to the last ice age, when cooler temperatures caused expansion of the Sahara). Unfortunately, current models are not reliable enough to give a confident answer.
So why wouldn't people drown? Again, a change in the Earth this dramatic would take thousands of years to effect from any realistic cause. Over generations people would migrate as the coasts changed. Consider that virtually all of the settlements in the United States were established only in last 350 years. Of course, many settlements inhabited for thousands of years would have to be abandoned to the ocean--just as many would have to be abandoned if ice age conditions returned and covered vast areas with ice sheets. But people can comfortably adjust where they live over periods of decades, far shorter than the thousands of years needed for these climate changes to naturally take place. Also, that's if they occur, and we have no evidence to indicate what would happen to climate over the next few thousand years.
IV. A final comment
For those curious as to what the Earth would be like with the ice caps melted, this report has hopefully given an illustration, along with some perspective: this sort of change cannot be affected by modern human activity even given many centuries. It is sad that some youngsters think that burning of hydrocarbons could cause the ice caps to melt and drown cities; it is criminal when teachers don't correct this nonsense. And it should tell you much of environmental groups like the Sierra Club when they use such myths to further an extremist political agenda.
MARSUPIAL FOSSIL REMAINS
A team of American scientists has just returned from the Antarctic with the fossil remains of the first land mammal ever found there.
The bones, which are those of a small marsupial the size of a rat, constitute compelling evidence for what scientists had long suspected but could never prove: that those pouched creatures, now mostly confined to Australia, reached that continent from South America using Antarctica as a land bridge before the continents separated ''For years and years people thought marsupials had to be there,'' said the team leader, Dr. William J. Zinsmeister, a paleontologist at Ohio State University's Institute of Polar Studies. ''This ties together all the suppositions made about Antarctica. The things we found are what you'd expect we would have.''
While previous discoveries of amphibian, bird and reptile fossils in Antarctica have established the theory of continental drift beyond any scientific doubt, no mammals had been found there until now.
The once widely accepted theory was that marsupials, which originated in the Americas, had migrated to Australia from the north, through the East Indies. But if Australia, South America and Antarctica were once connected in a single land mass, called Gondwanaland, scientists suspected that marsupials would have used the southern route and that their remains would probably be found in the Antarctic.
The find consists of three inch-long jawbones, each with two or three teeth, that belonged to two berry-eating creatures of an extinct marsupial species called Polydolopus. The bones were dated to the Eocene epoch, and were similar to those of marsupials known to have flourished in South America at the time. They were recognized instantly by Dr. Michael P. Woodburne, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of California at Riverside, who is an authority on marsupials.
The fossils were found on Seymour Island at the northeastern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, which points toward the southern tip of South America. The team chose the island because it is free of ice and snow in the Antarctic summer and has the right kind of rock for preserving fossil remains. They also found numerous fossils of ancient lizards, giant penguins, bony fishes and plesiosaurs, huge marine reptiles that swam with paddle-like flippers.
As Alfred Sherwood Romer, a Harvard paleontologist, once put it, Australia became ''a great marsupial-filled Noah's Ark floating northeast across the Indian Ocean, finally to run aground on the East Indies.'' The new finding appears to confirm that concept. A Difficult Task
The tiny marsupial bones were extraordinarily difficult to find among the mass of marine fossils on Seymour Island. The team purposely searched beneath the base of a mesa where they had found sand crab fossils, which indicated that the area was once beach and therefore a place where land animals might be found. The marsupial fossils were found on the surface, just two days before the team was to depart, and Dr. Woodburne identified them by the characteristic shape of the Nov 28, 2007
THE THUNDERBOLTS WEBSITE ENLIGHTENS US ON ASPECTS NEVER BEFORE CONSIDERD:
Antarctica: Fire and Ice
A large crater has recently been discovered underneath the ice of Antarctica, sparking theories of an asteroid impact. Could there have been electrical forces involved as well?
The word "Antarctica" comes from the Greek, antarktikos and means "opposite the Arctic." It has a total land area of almost 14.5 million square kilometers, making it the third smallest continent after Europe and Australia. It currently ranks as the coldest place on Earth with the highest average winds. Because rainfall only occurs along the coast, it is also the world's largest desert.
Nearly the entire continent is covered in ice, so finding structures hidden underneath it has been impossible until the development of ground-penetrating radar technology such as the Mass Concentration Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). With it, Ohio State University scientists have been able to see many formations, including a crater measuring 483 kilometers wide. As the gravity map shown above indicates, the Wilkes Land crater is twice as large as the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, which is thought to be responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The Wilkes Land crater is estimated to be 250 million years old and along with a 200-kilometer diameter crater called Bedout off the Australian coast is theorized to have caused the greatest die-off of all time, the Permian extinction.
The extinction of flora and fauna over a large area will always be a mystery regardless of what theory is used to create experiments or to explain evidence. But supposing the impact of a space rock to be the causative event in each situation relies too heavily on coincidence. Massive die-offs, ice ages, speciation and geological features are all attributed to meteors and asteroids by modern convention. One might ask what space-borne stones cannot do.
In a previous Thunderbolts Picture of the Day, we analyzed the problems associated with asteroid impacts including the so-called "extinction" evidence. In particular, the Chicxulub crater was attributed to something other than an asteroid.
By Stephen Smith
Doesn’t seem like a depiction of Antarctica at all to me, but entirely of South American and the Caribbean.
Like nearly all early charts, the latitudinal accuracy is high, with distortion along the longitude. It’s still very interesting that there could have been explorations of the east coast of South America dating back before we ever thought possible, but it also reflects the basic “longitude problem” that plagued sailors for so many centuries before somebody came up with the answer: accurate timekeeping.
Given that sort of distortion, an early map could be stretched to resemble a number of coastlines. I’d like to see the comparison to the Antarctic coast.
The bottom portion of the Piri Reis map has been proven to depict the continuation of the Argentine coast turned sideways to save space.
Absolutely and really nothing to see here. Totally bogus.
I’m completely willing to believe that it’s bogus. But that said... it’s the southern coast (the Argentine coast) that really doesn’t match. It sees forced, even allowing for the usual longitudinal distortion. The features in the Piri map don’t really match up with the features in the coastline.
Has anybody done a similar feature matching for the Antarctic coast? Seems that would settle the matter.
=”it seems forced”...
I’ve decided that I would like to have the Falkland Islands.
Yes, but there are other prominent features that are skipped and don’t have a counterpart in the other map.
I’m not saying that I think it is antarctica, but the northern part matches better, feature for feature, than the southern part.
Name one that is skipped.
What fur ?
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Uh, no way that map is 4000 years old. It looks about contemporary to when they found it. South of Patagonia, it’s a mess.