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Love-Child of Cassandra and Sisyphus1/31/2019 9:54:30 am PST

Warming up to an apocalypse:

Giant Void Hidden Under Antarctica’s Ice Threatens Vast Glacier

There’s a giant void hiding under the Antarctic ice, and it’s growing larger and more menacing by the day, a new study using satellite data finds.

The cavity is colossal, about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall. It’s growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, and it’s rapidly enabling ice melt above it.


Scientists spotted the concealed void thanks to a new generation of satellites, Rignot noted. These satellites, which are part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge, have ice-penetrating radar. The researchers also used data from a constellation of Italian and German spacecraft that are equipped with an SAR (synthetic-aperture radar) instrument that can measure how ground surface has shifted between images.

These tools revealed that the ground had shifted substantially from 1992 to 2017, the scientists found.