NASA Discovers 'Disturbing' Massive Cavity Below a Giant Glacier in Antarctica


'The size of a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting, ' said Nasa's Pietro Milillo. "If there is more heat and water under the glacier, melting it faster".

The cavernous hole is nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall and is but one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier on Wednesday.

Researchers were shocked when they discovered how much ice had been lost already, expecting to find much smaller gaps. This cavern is estimated to have once contained 14 billion tons of ice but, alarmingly, "most of that ice melted over the last three years " according to NASA scientists.

"We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it", said Eric Rignot, one of the co-authors of the study. He was ten kilometers long and four kilometers wide, and therefore as large as two-thirds of the area of Manhattan, write researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the United States space Agency Nasa in the journal "Science Advances".

'Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail'. About the size of Florida, the Thwaites Glacier is responsible for about 4.0 percent of global sea level rise.

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Thwaites is one of the hardest places to reach on Earth, but it is about to become better known than ever before.

This huge opening at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier - a mass infamously dubbed the "most risky glacier in the world" - is so big it represents an overt chunk of the estimated 252 billion tonnes of ice Antarctica loses every year. The water level in the oceans will rise, which will allow offshore glaciers of Antarctica to break away from the ground, turning just in glaciers.

NASA has recently revealed the existence of an unknown yawning cavity, that's placed at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier. This summer, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the British Natural Environmental Research Council are launching the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, a five-year field project that aims to get to the bottom of the glacier's processes and features.

In this Region has doubled the speed of the glacier line pulls back - of 0.6 kilometers per year in the period 1992 to 2011 to 1.2 kilometers per year between 2011 and 2017.

The discovery of cavity beneath Thwaites Glacier along with a number of other disconcerting features offer a new wrinkle to the harrowing tale of West Antarctica. The findings also show that the grounding line - where the ice meets the bedrock - migrates over a much larger scale than previously thought due to tidal mixing, and includes channels under parts of the ice that give warm water greater access to the interior part of the glacier.

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