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Several international, field intensive programmes are aimed at understanding the dynamics of Antarctica's ice sheets, ice shelves, glaciers and sea ice, as well as the Antarctic continent hidden beneath kilometres of ice. These studies use a range of exploration technologies and are providing views above and below the Antarctic ice sheet that have never before been seen. These studies aim to answer fundamental questions such as:

  1. what role does topography play in the nucleation of continental ice sheets?
  2. how are major elevated continental massifs formed within intra-plate settings but without an obvious plate tectonic mechanism?
  3. where is the oldest climate record in the Antarctic ice sheet?
  4. how do tectonic processes control the formation, distribution, and stability of subglacial lakes?
  5. what role does subglacial water play in ice flow to the sea?
  6. to what extent are subglacial lakes interconnected to form networks of waterways and what does this imply about microbial residents?

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