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 photo mosaic of Antarctica

Proposal from 4th Grade Science Classes at
Ida Elementary School
Teacher: Mrs. Maynard

Dear NASA,

We are learning about Megadunes. We have done some research and learned they can be up to 100 kilometers long and the Katabotic winds help form the Megadunes form. They appear to look like sand dunes and the satalite images are some of the most detailed of these ice formations.

photo of megadunes

The Megadunes are located on the East Antarctic ice plateau (81 lat., 130 long.) and cover about 500,000 square kilometers.

location of megadunes on map

Interesting features about Megadunes:
We have been studying several ice formations on Antarctica but found Megadunes most interesting because so little research has currently been done and we have never heard of them or learned about them. They are neat because they look like sand dunes but are made out of ice. The formations are also so huge you can not see where one begins and another ends. How they form is also interesting. We have learned about force and motion and the speed of the winds blowing over the ice would be a constant pushing force moving the ice in the same direction as the wind.

Our theory on what geologic processes are occurring to create Megadunes:
We talked about what effect there may be on the ground below the ice from the constant Katabotic winds at the surface. We would like to see if over time the ice wears down and then causing the rock underneath to also wear down. Maybe this will one day become clay.

Support for additioinal funding:
This will require a lot of further exploration as to how surface winds may affect the bedrock. We need additional funding to conduct scientific experiments in the lab to better understand these processes and discover how the formation of the earth is being changed.

 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: October 2008