A team of researchers has discovered that at least one of the Antarctic ice shelves is affected by a series of thousands of weak ice quakes.
The researchers placed several seismometers on the McMurdo ice shelf. The sensors were able to record a high number of ice quakes, which seem to be caused by pools of partially melted ice that is expanding as it freezes during the night. The information could help the researchers to learn more about how glacier melts and how icebergs are formed.
One of the researchers has declared that they were able to observe the phenomenon during the night, and it is likely that seismic sensors could be used to track the evolution of an ice shelf or a glacier that seems to be affected.
Recent studies suggest that Antarctic ice is melting at an accelerated rate as the global temperatures continue to grow. Some of the mechanisms have remained a mystery to this day, and further research is being conducted to learn about ice shelves.
Thousands Of Ice Quakes Shake Antarctica At Night
It was already known that ice quakes take place on the ice shelves, but the researcher wanted to learn how often they occur and how are they able to influence the ice shelf. A pair of the seismic sensors were placed near two of the seasonal lakes which appear on the McMurdo Ice Shelf.
One of the sensors was placed in a drier area while the other was surrounded by pools of water which freeze and melt each day. The second sensor was able to detect a high level of seismic activity. A weak layer of ice often covers the pools, and during the night the water below the ice freezes and begins to push the ice on top until it breaks.
Many researchers thought that it is strange how icebergs appear during colder periods, but the recent discovery may solve the dilemma.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.