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Chapter 3- Journey to the end of the Earth Questions Answers

Subjects

Question 1 :
How do geological phenomena help us to know about the history of humankind?

Answer 1 :

Geological phenomena such as the drifting of land masses and their separating into countries help us to know about the history of humankind. A visit to Antarctica around which Gondwana once existed, is like going back to past as it gives us an understanding of evolution and extinction, ozone and carbon, where humankind came from, and where it is headed.

Question 2 :
What are the indications for the future of humankind?

Answer 2 :

All thoughtless activities of humankind such as increasing cities and megacities, cutting forests and turning those to concrete jungles, careless burning of fossil fuel, depleting ozone and increasing carbon dioxide, and global warming, melting ice caps and shields, our battle with other species for limited resources and other similar reckless activities point to a grim future for humankind. If concrete steps are not taken immediately, these drastic changes may lead to the end of the world.

Question 3 :
‘The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica’. How is the study of this region useful to us?

Answer 3 :

Antarctica holds half a million-year-old carbon track records in its layers of ice. It gives us an understanding of evolution and extinction, ozone and carbon. A visit to Antarctica, around which Gondwana once existed, is like going back to the past. Witnessing the geological phenomena, such as the drifting of land masses and their spreading into countries, help us to know about the history of humankind. These are visible signs of where humankind came from and it gives us a clear understanding of where human life is headed if we do not take care of the environment. Actually seeing with our own eyes all these changes, make us understand that global warming is a real threat.

Question 4 :
What are Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in the Students on Ice Expedition?

Answer 4 :

Geoff Green feels that students are the future generation of policy-makers. They should be provided an opportunity to have this life-changing experience at a young age in order to foster a new understanding and respect for our planet. It would help them to absorb, learn and act for the benefit of the planet. The youngsters still have the idealism to save the world and they need to understand that it belongs to them. So, to sensitize them, it is important to provide them the visible life changing experience.

Question 5 :
‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ What is the relevance of the statement in the context of the Antarctica environment?

Answer 5 : This statement means that if small things are taken care of, big things will take their own care. There are tall grasses, called phytoplankton, in the southern oceans that use the sun’s energy to assimilate • carbon and synthesize organic compounds by photosynthesis. Marine life and birds in the region sustain themselves on these tall grasses. Any disturbance in the environment in Antarctica might affect the activities of the phytoplankton, which, in turn, might affect the existence of the other life forms that depend on them. Small things like the phytoplankton are important in the food chain.

Question 6 :
Why is Antarctica the place to go to understand the Earth’s present, past and future?

Answer 6 :

The author states that to understand the earth’s present, past and future, Antarctica is the right place to go. Antarctica is relatively untouched in this respect as it has never had human population. It is relatively pristine. It holds in its ice cores half a million-year-old carbon records, trapped in the layers of ice. It embodies all that is pre-historic: cordilleran folds, pre-Cambrian granite shields ozone and carbon: evolution and extinction. The simple eco system and lack of biodiversity indicate how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions.

A visit to Antarctica and witnessing the geological phenomena, such as the drifting of land masses, glaciers receding and ice shelves collapsing makes us understand that global warming is a real threat. Hence, to study the earth’s past, present and future, these factors make Antarctica the best place to go.

Question 7 :
When did the author start her journey to Antarctica and what had she to pass through?

Answer 7 :

The author started her journey 13.09 degrees north of the Equator in Madras—she was on board a Russian research vessel—the Akademik Shokalskiy. She had to pass through nine time zones, six checkpoints, three bodies of water and at least as many ecospheres. After travelling over hundred hours in combination of a car, an aeroplane and a ship, she reached Antarctica.

Question 8 :
What emotions did the author experience when she reached Antarctica at last?

Answer 8 :

The author finally set foot on the Antarctica continent after travelling over 100 hours in combination of car, aeroplane and ship. Her first emotion on seeing the vast expansive white landscape and the blue horizon was of relief. She experienced the emotion of wonder at its immensity and isolation and its strange relationship with India.

Question 9 : How would you describe Gondwana?

Answer 9 :

Gondwana was a giant amalgamated southern supercontinent, centering around present-day Antarctica. Humans had not arrived on the global scene. The climate was much warmer. There was a huge variety of flora and fauna. Gondwana thrived for 500 million years. When the age of the mammals got underway, the landmass was forced to separate into countries. Antarctica separated from the whole landmass shaping the globe as we know it today.

Question 10 :
What is that thing that can happen in a million years and would be mind-boggling?

Answer 10 :

The author says that in a million years India may push northwards, jamming against Asia. It will buckle its crust and form the Himalayas – South America may drift off to join North America. The Drake Passage may open up to create a cold circumpolar current. Antarctica may remain frigid, desolate and at the bottom of the world.


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