Energy & Environment

Hole two-thirds size of Manhattan found in Antarctic glacier

Scientists in a NASA-led study recently discovered a massive hole, about two-thirds the size of Manhattan, in an Antarctic glacier. 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Wednesday announced in a statement that the hole, which is almost 1,000 feet tall, was one of several “disturbing” discoveries it found on the “disintegrating” Thwaites Glacier. 

{mosads}”Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites’ bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below,” NASA said. “The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them.”

The researchers said that the cavity could’ve fit “14 billion tons of ice” in it, adding that “most of that ice melted over the last three years.”

CNN, which first reported the discovery, noted that Thwaites Glacier is one of the most difficult places to monitor on the planet. Scientists have said that there is no way they can observe Antarctic glaciers from surface level. 

The laboratory instead produced its findings by utilizing airborne and satellite ice-penetrating radars. 

“We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it,” Eric Rignot, a co-author of the new study, said. “Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail.”

The findings are significant given how much ice the Thwaites Glacier holds. NASA said in its statement that the glacier holds “enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet.”

Tags Antarctica Climate change Glacier Global warming

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