Picture of the Day

Researchers map oceanic troughs below ice sheets in West Antarctica

University of California, Irvine (UCI), glaciologists have uncovered large oceanic valleys beneath some of the massive glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica. Carved by earlier advances of ice during colder periods, the subsurface troughs enable warm, salty water to reach the undersides of glaciers, fueling their increasingly rapid retreat. The discovery is the result of an analysis of gravity data from airborne NASA Operation IceBridge missions from 2009 to 2014, combined with ice motion measurements made by UCI researchers, UCI’s own mass conservation algorithm, and existing bed topography and ice thickness information.

Visit Website | Image credit: NASA / Michael Studinger