For many years, scientists suspected thatThe enormous Thwaights glacier is hardly attached to the bedrock beneath it. It was also believed that it thaws - if this is true, the level of the world ocean can rise to dangerous heights and cause serious flooding. To confirm their guesses, as part of Operation IceBridge, scientists studied the lower layers of ice using helicopters with special radars. Their assumptions were true.
It turned out that under a huge glacier there area cavity with a large volume of melt water — at an altitude of 300 meters, its area is 40 square kilometers. Researchers believe that it was formed as a result of melting 14 billion tons of ice. It is noteworthy that this happened quite quickly, over a period of only 3 years.
For years, we suspected that the glacierThweits was not closely tied to the bedrock beneath him. Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the details, ”explained Eric Rigno, one of the study leaders.
It is believed that melting occurred due to the presence ofwarm currents under the glacier. The process seems irreversible, since the larger the cavity becomes, the more ice is melted. There may be several such cavities under the Tewates glacier, so scientists fear that they will cause melting of other nearby ice massifs. When the Tweits glacier melts, the sea level will rise by as much as 65 centimeters, and if other ice tracts are connected to it, the level will rise several times higher.
Scientists also care that the glacier annuallymoves to 800-2000 meters. This behavior does not correspond to their ideas about the development of the world's oceans, so they intend to carefully study its causes. At the moment, other glaciers abut on the Tewates glacier, and if it disappears, they will begin to crawl into the ocean.
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