A robot submarine has made a surprising discovery under the floating ice shelf of a West Antarctic glacier that recently has been disappearing into the sea with alarming speed.
The yellow submarine found a small underwater mountain range that probably once acted as a speed bump, slowing the flow of the glacier from the West Antarctic ice sheet into the sea.
Looking For Clues
Pine Island Glacier has been flowing down faster in recent decades, which means more ice is melting. That’s of concern because, if the West Antarctic ice sheet goes, global sea levels could rise dramatically. And scientists have wondered if what’s happening to Pine Island Glacier could be a harbinger of more melting.