Giant Hole Discovered Under Antarctic Glacier

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A massive void that reaches 66% of the size of Manhattan has been discovered at the base of an Antarctic glacier, revealing that the ice is melting at an accelerated speed.

The giant hole, spanning almost 1,000 feet in height, is located at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier. At one point space was filled with approximately 14 billion tons of ice. NASA researchers believe a major amount of ice disappeared within the last 36 months. It was previously thought that the glacier was not connected to the bedrock and a satellite survey provided a large amount of useful information.

The void was spotted with the help of a high-performance radar device used during Operation IceBridge, which aimed to discover the connection between climate change and the evolution of the polar regions.  Data from Italian and German satellite surveys was also used for comparison.

The presence of a cavity at the bottom of glacier can generate a huge influence on the speed of melting. The increased amount of warm water and heat will force the glacier to melt faster. Official measurements note that the Thwaites Glacier is on par with the size of the state of Florida. It has already increased the sea level by 4% and it holds enough ice in order to raise the level of the world’s ocean by approximately two feet.

The glacier is located in an area that is quite difficult to reach but an international mission has been assembled and on-site studies should begin in the summer. A new study claim that Antarctic ice is melting six time faster than it did almost four decades ago and areas that were thought to be safe have become problematic.

The researcher trying to track down the reason for the increased speed at which the ice melts. While global warming remains the prime suspect other factors are also included.


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