A Gigantic Hole Bigger Than Scotland Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It

A Gigantic Hole Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It

Scotland is a relatively large country, as it covers a whopping 80,077 km2 of land. Therefore, imagine if a hole the size of Scotland had just opened up out of nowhere. There've been lots of stories about sinkholes large enough to swallow up a car or a building or even a street block, still not one the size of a country as big as Scotland.


However, that’s exactly what has happened in Antarctica.


Atmospheric physicist Kent Moore from the University of Toronto told Motherboard: “This is hundreds of kilometers from the ice edge. If we didn’t have a satellite, we wouldn’t know it was there.”


The hole is known as a polynya, an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It seems that this polynya was discovered back in the 1970s. However, it is now five times bigger than the one that was discovered then.


A Gigantic Hole Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It

Scientists are now racing to discover what caused the hole, which is about fifty times bigger than London, to re-emerge. There is not much known about this phenomenon because of the sheer remoteness of the region.


According to a statement from the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project: “The difficulty of mounting Antarctic expeditions in winter means that few actual measurements have been made of these rare events.”


While the investigations continue, people are speculating what might have caused this polynya to form. Some of them are pointing to aliens – such as in Alien vs. Predator when an extra-terrestrial ship blasted a beam from space that cut a nice 2,000ft deep hole into the ice close to Antarctica.


Others are pointing towards the dreaded enemy, climate change. Nevertheless, Professor Moore insists that it is ‘premature’ to be pointing the finger in that particular direction.


A Gigantic Hole Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It

He adds: “Once the sea ice melts back, you have this huge temperature contrast between the ocean and the atmosphere. It can start driving convection.”


Convection is when there is movement inside the fluid, which is often a result of warmer material rising to the surface and denser, colder material that's sinking to the bottom. This could cause the polynya to stay open if temperatures don't drop dramatically.


Céline Heuzé, a physical oceanographer from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, told Earther: “We really don’t know what’s going on. At the moment any expedition into the Southern Ocean needs to be planned years in advance. But I do hope that now that [the polynya] has formed people will go observe it. You can monitor it by satellites, but for really what’s happening in the ocean we need to go down there.”


References: Ladbible, Daily Informator

A Gigantic Hole Bigger Than Scotland Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It A Gigantic Hole Bigger Than Scotland Has Opened Up In Antarctica - Scientists Are Racing To Discover What Caused It Reviewed by Κατερίνα Παπ on 2:48 AM Rating: 5

No comments

Don't show again. Close

Like us on Facebook?