Q. How do geological phenomena help us to know about the history of humankind?
Ans. Geological phenomena certainly helps us to know about the history of humankind. A giant southern supercontinent- Gondwana did exist 650 million years ago. The climate was much warmer. It had a huge variety of flora and fauna. Gondwana thrived for 500 million years. Finally, it broke in to separate countries as they exist today. It was the stage when dinosaurs were wiped out and the age of mammals started.
Q. What are the indications for the future of humankind?
Ans. Rapid human population growth and limited resources exert pressure on land. Burning of fossil fuels has only helped in increasing the average global temperature. Melting of ice-caps, depletion of the ozone layer and global warming are the real and immediate dangers for mankind. They will affect the lives of all the marine animals and the birds of the region.
Q. ‘The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica.’ How is the study of this region useful to us?
Ans. The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica. Therefore, the study of Antarctica shows that India and Antarctica were part of a supercontinent named Gondwana. This supercontinent existed 650 million years ago. The climate of Gondwana was much warmer. It fostered a huge variety of flora and fauna. Then about 150 million years ago, dinosaurs were wiped out. The age of mammals started. Gondwana was forced to separate into countries. The globe was shaped much as we know it today. A cold circumpolar current was created. It made Antarctica frigid.
Q. What are Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in the Students on Ice expedition?
Ans. Geoff Green didn’t find any good in taking curious celebrities to Antarctica until he thought of taking high school students. He believed that the high school students are the real future policy makers of the earth and the young enthusiasm in them would easily understand the seriousness of the threat that poses the earth by visiting Antarctica and they would act their bit to save the planet from further deterioration.
Q. ‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ What is the relevance of this statement in the context of the Antarctic environment?
Ans. The statement, ‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves’, is very important in context of the Antarctic environment. Antarctica has simple ecosystem and lacks biodiversity. Here we find on the sea-surface microscopic phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are the grasses of the sea that nourish and sustain the entire southern ocean’s food chain. These are single-celled plants which use the sun’s energy to assimilate carbon and synthesise organic compounds through photosynthesis. Now the scientists warn that a further depletion in the ozones layer will affect the activities of phytoplankton. If it happens, the lives of all marine animals and birds of this region will be endangered. Needless to say, that it will affect the global carbon cycle as well. Thus if we take care of such a small thing as phytoplankton, the big things will fall into place.
Q. Why is Antarctica the place to go to, to understand the earth’s present, past and future?
Ans. Antarctica is the place to go to, to understand the earth’s present, past and future because half a million-year-old carbon records are trapped in the layers of its ice. The study of this ice may reveal the evolution of life and how mammals and ultimately human beings happen to be here.