an Unmanned probe helped to explore the underwater part of the glacier, the melting of which threatens catastrophic consequences.
we are talking about the Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica. In area (120 square kilometers), it is comparable with the Orenburg and Kirov region of Russia.
This community intensely melts. Over the last 30 years the amount of ice flowing into the sea from this and neighboring glaciers, has almost doubled. About 4% of the global sea-level rise over the decades accounts for the water released by glacier Thwaites ‘ the scientists explain.
If the ice colossus will melt completely, Global sea level will rise by 64 centimeters. This will lead to flooding of vast areas. That is why, says the publication of the New Atlas, it is called the glacier the day of judgment.
What happens to this edifice now and how real a threat it is? To find out, scientists from the International collaboration of the glacier Thwaites launched to the base of the glacier underwater drone.
Underwater robot Icefin was developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology (USA). It is a cylinder with a length of 3.5 meters, diameter of 23 centimeters and a weight of 130 pounds. He is able to dive to a depth of one kilometer and has a range of 3.5 kilometers.
With the hot water, the scientists have drilled into the surface of the glacier of the borehole to the surface of the sea. Its depth amounted to 590 meters (!). Icefin made five flights, after a total of 15 kilometers.
the drone made the first underwater photo of a zone of the glacier, where lying on the bottom of the floating ice gives way.Photos of Thwaites Glacier International Collaboration/Georgia Tech-Schmidt lab.
Explain that the Thwaites glacier, like its counterparts, is thrown deep into the sea. Part of it literally lying on the seabed of the coastal shallow water. The same part that is farther from shore, does not reach the bottom and swim in the water, however, is almost completely immersed in it.
It ethe second hardest part is destroyed unusually warm in recent decades the ocean water. Scientists want to know how fast it happens.
Therefore, the probe has twice surveyed the boundary between “Donna” and “floating” part of the ice bulk. The drone also made the first ever underwater pictures of this border zone of such a large glacier.
underwater drone Flights have become part of a large-scale study of the glacier.Photos of Thwaites Glacier International Collaboration/Georgia Tech-Schmidt lab.
we Add that the expedition Icefin was only part of a large-scale study of the glacier, dedicated to the bicentennial of the discovery of Antarctica.
the Researchers took seismogram, surveyed the glacier with radar, took samples of sediment from the seabed. In the coming months they expect to send to scientific journals, the first results of their research. The complete analysis of the data collected can take several years.
By the way, before “News.Science” wrote that the melting of glaciers could lead to an increase of volcanic activity.