An enormous underwater cavity discovered under the Thwaites Glacier on the western coast of Antarctica is making scientists worry. This glacier has always been considered as one of the most dangerous and unstable, and this cavity is believed to make it even more hazardous.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recently released a study, according to which this cavity is around 1,000 feet tall and two-thirds the size of Manhattan, while the glacier itself is around the size of Florida. According to researchers, this gigantic cavity used to contain around 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted in the last three years.
This rapid melting of ice is causing an increase in the water levels. If all this ice melts, it would raise the sea level of the world by two feet. This is a serious threat to the coastal cities around the world.
Rising sea levels are among the major effects of global warming, as they happen due to the melting ice sheets and thermal expansion of oceans. A recent study found out that Antarctica is contributing more to this effect than previously thought. The nearby Pine Island Glacier is also melting rapidly and flowing into the Amundsen Sea.
NASA has recently released that the Thwaites Glacier has already caused about 4% increase in the world’s rising sea levels. The faster it happens, the higher the chances that it would become increasingly difficult to contain the threat. As the glacier experiences more warm-water currents, it will melt even quicker.
All of this is happening due to climate change, which has posed serious challenges in the form of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. NASA’s research revealed that more than 650 feet of ice per year has melted in this region between 2014 and 2017.
Before this study, there was no clue about the existence of this gigantic cavity. This was made possible through NASA’s radar technology, which penetrates deep below the surface of ice. Now that this cavity has been found, more research is being done to solve this new mystery. As much of the area beneath ice sheets is still to be discovered and the threats still to be measured, scientists are only starting to get an initial idea about this mystery of the cavity.