A team of scientists has discovered that a huge ice-covered lake in Antarctica suddenly disappeared, and scientists are worried that it could happen again. In this disappearing act, an estimated 21 to 26 billion cubic feet (600 million to 750 million cubic meters) of water – about twice as much as the Gulf of San Diego – killed into the ocean.
According to the investigation, the event took place during the winter of 2019 on the Amery Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica, WordsSideKick.com reported.
The authors, who used satellite observations to capture the shockingly disappearing act, say the lake was drained about three days after the ice shelf beneath it gave way.
“We believe that the weight of water accumulated in this deep lake opened a crack in the ice shelf under the lake, a process known as hydrofracture that caused the water to run off to the ocean below,”
He added that when the water was released, “the current in the ocean below would have been like the current over Niagara Falls, so it would have been an impressive sight”.
Hydrofracturing occurs when water – which is denser and therefore heavier than ice – tears up giant cracks in ice sheets – and then drains into the sea.
This leaves a gigantic crack that compromises the structural integrity of the sheet as a whole.
As meltwater lakes and streams multiply above the surface of Antarctica, scientists are concerned that increasing amounts of surface meltwater could cause more hydrofracturing events, which could cause ice shelves, including the parts anchored to the ground, to collapse and thus raise sea levels above current. projections.
“Antarctica’s surface melting is expected to double by 2050, raising concerns about the stability of other ice shelves,” the team wrote in their study, published June 23 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
“Processes such as hydrofracture and bending remain underestimated, and ice sheet models do not yet include realistic treatment of these processes,” they added.
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