Massive Hole Two-Thirds the Size of Manhattan Discovered in Antarctic Glacier

031 thwaites glacier cavity antarctica

031 thwaites glacier cavity antarctica

"As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster".

A glacier described as the "world's most dangerous" is showing worrying signs of collapse, after scientists found an 1,000ft tall cavity growing beneath the ice.

The icy monster "backstops neighbouring glaciers that would raise sea levels an additional 8 feet (2.4 metres) if all the ice were lost", Nasa warned.

Even with this accelerating retreat, however, melt rates on this side of the glacier are lower than on the western side, they said. It is growing at an "explosive" rate that surprised researchers conducting a study the agency led on the glacier. Should Thwaites and other neighboring glaciers melt, sea levels would rise up to 10 feet, according to the press release. The glacier itself is about as big as the state of Florida, and, if melted completely, could raise sea levels by some 2 feet globally, the scientists say.

Last year, the National Science Foundation and Britain's Natural Environment Research Council launched a joint programme called the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration to study the unstable glacier and its role in sea levels.

Thwaites Glacier, curiously, isn't melting in a uniform way.

As many as 130 migrants feared drowned in shipwrecks off Djibouti
One survivor estimated there were 130 people on his boat, but wasn't able to say the number of passengers on the other vessel. The crossing is risky , with smugglers in some cases forcing migrants overboard before reaching their destination.

"We are discovering different mechanisms of retreat", first author of the new paper, JPL radar scientist Pietro Milillo explains. For instance, the 100-mile-long (160 kilometers) glacier front has different rates of retreat in its grounding line (where the sea ice meets the ocean's bedrock) depending on where you look.

The huge cavity is under the main trunk of the glacier on its western side - the side farther from the West Antarctic Peninsula.

In this region, as the tide rises and falls, the grounding line retreats and advances across a zone of about 3 to 5 km.

However, there's been more retreat than advancement as of late. The glacier has been coming unstuck from a ridge in the bedrock at a steady rate of about 0.6 to 0.8 km a year since 1992. This has made the melt rate on this part of the glacier unsettlingly high, the researchers said.

"Such data is essential for field parties to focus on areas where the action is, because the grounding line is retreating rapidly with complex spatial patterns", Milillo said. Hopefully, the upcoming worldwide collaboration will help researchers piece together the different systems at work under and around the glacier, the researchers said.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Recommended News

  • McConnell warns against early exit from Syria, Afghanistan

    McConnell warns against early exit from Syria, Afghanistan

    Trump said earlier on Thursday he would bring American troops home if a peace deal were reached to end 17 years of war in Afghanistan.
    Edelman surprises bullied female QB with SB tickets

    Edelman surprises bullied female QB with SB tickets

    She says she doesn't see the game in terms of gender, she just wants to be the best football player and teammate possible. Dejah Rondeau is the starting quarterback of the Exeter Seahawks' seventh and eighth-grade team in Exeter, New Hampshire.
    The latest Windows 10 update is the least successful version ever

    The latest Windows 10 update is the least successful version ever

    With the current setup dialog, you have an error message but no link to more info to learn exactly what is wrong. The only options that users have is to uninstall the listed programs to continue, or close the dialog.
  • Jerry Jones Not Expected to Extend Jason Garrett's Contract

    Jerry Jones Not Expected to Extend Jason Garrett's Contract

    Garrett, 52, is 77-59 in the regular season and 2-3 in the postseason in his almost nine seasons at the helm in Dallas. Jones was asked about an extension for Garrett during an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Wednesday.
    Katharine McPhee Shares Throwback Photo of Her & Meghan Markle Doing Musicals Together!

    Katharine McPhee Shares Throwback Photo of Her & Meghan Markle Doing Musicals Together!

    Hundreds of young people cheered and waved Union flags when the heavily pregnant duchess arrived in her chauffeur-driven vehicle . It was Meghan's first engagement as a patron of the theatre after the Queen passed the role onto her earlier this month.
    Zac Efron's 'Extremely Wicked' Glorifies Killer — Ted Bundy Survivor

    Zac Efron's 'Extremely Wicked' Glorifies Killer — Ted Bundy Survivor

    One of the most discussed films from this year's Sundance Film Festival crop is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile . News this week: 'The most exciting thing for me was being able to sort of lend that Ted Bundy charisma to the part.
  • Lazar Markovic completes permanent move to Fulham

    The 24-year-old has departed the Reds for Craven Cottage, bringing his four-and-a-half-year spell with the club to an end. Liverpool have finally got Lazar Markovic off their hands as Fulham have signed the winger on a free transfer.
    Cops: Teen faked abduction for $130 from mom

    Cops: Teen faked abduction for $130 from mom

    The teen reportedly tried to trick his mother on January 22 by telling her to put the money in a mailbox of his own choosing. Eventually, Franklin was questioned by police and admitted he falsified the kidnapping to extort $130 from his mother.
    Amber warning for parts of North Devon with more snow forecast

    Amber warning for parts of North Devon with more snow forecast

    Further disruption is expected in other parts of the country. Snow amounts will vary with many places seeing very little.
  • Celtic complete loan signing of Jeremy Toljan from Borussia Dortmund

    Celtic complete loan signing of Jeremy Toljan from Borussia Dortmund

    Toljan will battle with Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa for the right-back spot at Celtic , as the Bhoys look to make sure they retain the Scottish title this season.
    Ariana Grande's tattoo now says Japanese BBQ finger

    Ariana Grande's tattoo now says Japanese BBQ finger

    But this spot also peels a ton and won't last so if I miss it enough I'll suffer thru the whole thing next time'. This story was first published on CNN .com, " Ariana Grande fixes misspelled palm tattoo after online mockery ".
    Trump Reacts to Jussie Smollett Story: 'Horrible'

    Trump Reacts to Jussie Smollett Story: 'Horrible'

    But they still haven't found video of the attack or the men who match Smollett's description of the suspects, he said. Smollett's representative said his concert scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles will go on as planned.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.