A huge cavity has been discovered under the melting glaciers of Antarctica

(ORDO NEWS) — What did diving under the melting Thwaites Glacier in the western part of Antarctica reveal, where a huge underwater cavity has already formed?

Pictures of the base of the Thwaites Glacier were taken by the submersible Icefin. The glacier is famous not only for the fact that it slides into the ocean at a speed of two kilometers a year, but also rapidly melts, threatening to significantly increase the water level on the planet.

The robot explored the line of contact of the glacier to the bottom and the places where it no longer touches the ground.

The line of contact is important for understanding the degree of stability of a glacier – the further it recedes, the faster the ice moves into the ocean and the faster its level rises.

“Now we can approach the line of contact of the glacier to the bottom of the sea and measure where its boundary passes,” says geophysicist Britney Schmidt.

“Before, no one has seen the grounding zone of a large glacier under water, where melting can be most intense, leading to destabilization of the ice.”

According to scientists, the temperature of the water at the base of the ice is 2 degrees Celsius above the normal freezing point. It’s a good news. The Icefin probe measured seismic activity, made radar measurements, took cores from the seabed.

A huge cavity has been discovered under the melting glaciers of Antarctica 2

The Thwaites Glacier has already dumped a lot of ice into the ocean. It accounts for about four percent of global sea level rise.

By the way, the Antarctic ice sheet is melting almost six times faster than 40 years ago. If this trend continues, the glacier will collapse into the ocean, raising its level by more than half a meter.

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