The region of Antarctica is rich in meteorites that could reveal a lot about our solar system.
The Antarctic has been a hotspot for meteorite hunters, with more than two thirds of the total number of meteorites collected being found there.
This is partly because their dark colouring stands out against the white snow, which makes them easy to detect.
Additionally, ice flow in Antarctica takes meteorites and naturally and gradually transports them to concentrated areas known as meteorite stranding zones (MSZ).
However, there have been few iron-rich meteorites found in the region but a team from the University of Manchester thinks that they have figured out why not many iron-rich meteorites have been found there.
They say that these meteorites are more prone to conducting heat from the sun’s rays, in comparison with non-metallic ones, which causes them to melt the ice around them and subsequently burying them in ice and snow once they have been transported to an MSZ.
The team says that for meteorite hunters looking for iron-rich meteorites in Antarctica, they should be looking 10-50cm below the surface.
Lead author Dr Geoff Evatt said of the study published in Nature Communications: “With the strong possibility that a hidden reserve of meteorites lies just below the ice surface of localised areas of Antarctica, finding conclusive evidence of its existence is imperative to our understanding of the solar system’s formation.