Scientists Discovered Huge Floating Ice Shelf in Antarctica

Oct 7, 2013 17:35 IST

Researchers from the University of Exeter, Newcastle University, the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the British Antarctic Survey and the University of York announced in the first week of October 2013 that they discovered Giant 250-metre high channels, beneath a floating ice shelf in Antarctica.

The height of the ice shelf is around 250 metres and the channels are almost as tall as the Eiffel tower and stretched hundreds of kilo metres along the ice shelf.

Giant 250-metre high channels of ice will help to predict future of Antarctic ice.

Researchers used satellite images and airborne radar measurements to reveal the channels under the ice shelf.

The researchers also predicted the path of melt water flowing under the part of the ice in contact with the land - known as the ice sheet. When the melt water flowing under the ice sheet enters the ocean beneath the ice shelf, it causes a plume of ocean water to form, which then melts out the vast channels under the ice shelf.

Previously, it was felt that water flowed in a thin layer beneath the ice sheet.But the evidence from this research suggests it flows in a more focused manner much like rivers of water. However, the implications for the future of the ice sheet are yet to be determined.

The channels are likely to influence the stability of the ice shelf and their discovery will help researchers understand how the ice will respond to changing environmental conditions.

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