The Thwaites Glacier in the West Antarctica continent is swiftly melting. NASA scientists claim that there’s a cavern the size of a city located underneath its ice sheets and glaciers. Information gathered from Operation IceBridge sent out radar-equipped planes that can see through the ice and into the bedrock to map out the poles in 3D. It expedited the team’s effort to identify the causes of this unusual phenomenon. The warm air inside the massive underground cavern triggers the ice to melt rapidly.
The Thwaites Glacier holds a massive portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Continuous melting can cause the sea levels to dangerously rise to eight feet. The underground cavern emerged in 2012, and it melted an alarming amount of ice in three years. Scientists are concerned that this means it could melt the remaining glaciers in the area much faster than their predictions. Shown below is a radar image of the underground cavern in Thwaites from 2011 to 2017. The red blob shows the heat of the air, and the blue parts show the ice.