Scientists image subglacial water system in West Antarctica

By on July 18, 2013
Location of the Thwaites Glacier (Credit: J.B. Bird/Jackson School of Geosciences)

Researchers at the University of Texas have used radar analysis to image a subglacial water system in West Antarctica, according to a release. They found a swamp-like canal system beneath the Thwaites Glacier that is several times larger than the Florida Everglades.

The scientists used airborne ice-penetrating radar to map the water system. By itself, they say the glacier is large enough to raise the global sea level by a meter and its mapping should help test competing theories about its existence and organization.

Among the findings, scientists found that the glacier is stably holding its position on the continent in the short term. In the long term, however, the ice could collapse if ocean warming continues. The rest of the team’s findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Image: Location of the Thwaites Glacier (Credit: J.B. Bird/Jackson School of Geosciences)

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