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Mystery Behind Mile-Wide Ring In Antarctica Solve!

First Posted: Dec 14, 2016 11:20 AM EST
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The mysterious 2-kilometer wide circle which is located in the Antarctic ice shelf has made scientists and researchers wonder its origin and what could have possibly caused it. The primary reason that most scientists believe is that a large meteorite had slammed into Antarctica in 2004 causing the huge crater in the area.

However, it seems like they have discovered that real cause of the said crater. On January 2016, scientists have visited the circle on foot. What they have discovered is a 3-meter deep depression with raised edges and three moulins like a shaft in the ice in the center that drains two meltwater streams.

The new research found out that the crater in Antarctica which once thought to be the cause of meteorite impacts is the result of ice melt. According to Live Science, the hole located in the Roi Baudouin ice shelf in East Antarctica is a collapsed lake. Collapsed lake is a cavity formed in the lake of meltwater was drained with a "Moulin" - a vertical drainage passage through the ice.

"That was a huge surprise. Moulins typically are observed on Greenland. And we never see them on an ice shelf," Stef Lhermitte, an earth science researcher at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and at the University of Leuven in Belgium said.

Researchers discovered that East Antartica is vulnerable to melt. The warm winds in the region blow away the snow cover and darken the surface of the ice. The darker surfaces then absorb the heat from the sun which made the light surface to melt.

The floating ice sheets do not contribute to the sea level rise because it is already located in the ocean. The said ice sheets provide an important backstop against the flowing of land-based ice from the continental Antarctica into the sea.

East Antartica has been considered as a mysterious place with it comes to climate change. Researchers have discovered similar hot spots in the area and thought that the degree of surface melting would lead to the instability of the ice sheet.

According to Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, it is unlikely that the instability in East Antarctica is going to lead to the type of disintegration seen in the Antarctic Peninsula shortly.

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