The Thwaites glacier is a major contributor to sea level rise. Image Credit: NASA
The world's 'most dangerous' glacier has developed a gaping hole around two-thirds the size of Manhattan.
It's no secret that Antarctica has been losing ice at an unprecedented rate - upwards of 252 billion tons a year - leading to grave concerns over the inevitable rise in global sea levels.
The infamous Thwaites Glacier - a vast ice flow that has been described as the 'weak underbelly' of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet - is one of the biggest contributers to this problem.
Now scientists studying its progress have discovered that a huge cavity has opened up beneath it - a gaping 300-meter-tall chasm approximately two-thirds the size of Manhattan.
Of particular concern is the fact that most of the 1.4 billion tons of ice that once made up this empty space were believed to have been lost within the last three years alone.
If the entire glacier was to disappear completely it would raise global sea levels by around 2ft.
What's more, the glacier is currently holding back several other glaciers and ice masses that, if also lost, could raise sea levels by a further 8ft.
For this reason, Thwaites has been nicknamed the "most dangerous glacier in the world".
Exactly how long it will be before it does melt however currently remains unclear.
Source: Science Alert | Comments (6)