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Antarctic Flood Forms ‘Ice Crater’

Posted by feww on July 2, 2013

Enormous flood under Antarctica drained six billion tons of water: Report

The ice surface collapsed as the water in Cook Sub-Glacial Lake drained away, probably into the ocean, according to a new report.

Antarctic Ice Crater - esa3D view of the crater created using CryoSat data. The ice surface collapsed as six cubic km of water drained away from Cook SGL. The crater is located in Victoria Land, East Antarctica at about 73ºS and 156ºE. Copyright: ESA/McMillan

ESA’s CryoSat satellite has discovered a massive ‘ice crater’ in Victoria Land, East Antarctica, which researchers believe was left behind when a lake lying under about 3 km of ice suddenly drained.

“It covers an area of about 260 sq km, which is about the size of Edinburgh, and was as much as 70m deep,” said Dr Malcolm McMillan from the UK’s University of Leeds and lead author of a report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“We knew from the Icesat data there had been a big elevation change, but it’s only now with Cryosat that we’ve been able to appreciate the true scale of what happened.” He told reporters.

The event occurred during an 18-month period in 2007-2008 at the Cook Sub-Glacial Lake (SGL) in the east of the continent, says the report.

The water would have been flowing away from the SGL at a rate of 160 cubic meters per second during peak discharge, the report says.

Cook is one of about 400 SGLs believed to exist on the White Continent, which is losing mass at a rate of between 50-100 billion tons a year.

ESA PAGE

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