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Picture of the Day

Volcano under ice sheet suggests thickening of West Antarctic ice is short-term

A region of West Antarctica is behaving differently from most of the continent's ice: A large patch of ice there is thickening, unlike other parts of West Antarctica that are losing ice. Whether this thickening trend will continue affects the overall amount that melting or collapsing glaciers could raise the level of the world's oceans. A National Science Foundation-funded study has discovered a new clue to this region's behavior: A volcano under the ice sheet has left an almost 6,000-year record of the glacier's motion. The track hidden in the middle of the ice sheet suggests that the current thickening is just a short-term feature that may not affect the glacier over the long term. It also suggests that similar clues to the past may be hiding deep inside the ice sheet itself.

Visit Website | Image credit: Nicholas Holschuh/University of Washington