Antarctic mountains hidden beneath thousands of feet of ice have been mapped in detail for the first time.

One of Antarctica's highest mountain ranges, located in the center of the continent, shows remarkable similarities to the Alps, with steep cliffs, valley steps and flat tributary valleys.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Nature, mapped the Gamburtsev mountains by bouncing radar signals off their hidden surface and observing how long they took to return.

The highest peak was found to be 2,434 meters (7,985 feet) above sea level.

"When you look at the map you can actually imagine walking in the mountains. It's like Snowdonia," a mountainous region in Wales, said Professor Martin Siegert, a glaciologist at the University of Edinburgh and an author of the paper.

The surface of Antarctica rises up in a smooth dome shape over the Gamburtsev region, which suggested a mountain range lay beneath. But until now, scientists had only the vaguest idea of how high the mountains were or what they looked like.

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