New Island Revealed in Antarctica
Tue, April 20, 2021

New Island Revealed in Antarctica

 

Antarctica has been one of the most affected by increasing temperatures. Previous reports showed the massive melting of its ice sheets, which raises sea levels and impacts both wildlife and humans. The Thwaites Glacier and the Pine Island Glacier, the peninsula's two major glaciers, are melting faster than new ice can form. But, this has led to another discovery: an uncharted island. 

 

Photo Credits: Live Science

 

When the researchers found this island, they first thought that it was an iceberg that had become lodged years ago and melted enough to expose the underlying rock. They discovered it while they were sailing off the coast of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf.  "But now we think that the ice on the island was once part of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, a massive field of floating ice that extends outward into the ocean from the edge of the glacier,” Sarah Slack, a member of the expedition, said. 

 

Photo Credits: Sputnik News

 

The researchers temporarily named it Sif island after a Norse goddess associated with Earth. According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, the island is only about 1,150 feet long (350 meters) and mostly covered in ice. It was pretty noticeable due to its layer of brown rock distinct from the surrounding glaciers and icebergs. Lindsay Prothro, a glacial geologist at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi who was not involved with the expedition, explained that the island emerged due to a process called glacial rebound.

 

Photo Credits: Metro

 

A glacial rebound happens when glacial ice melts, relieving pressure on the underlying continent. As a result, the continent may "rebound" or rise higher than it previously was. Peter Neff, an expedition member, created a time-lapse model using satellite images from Google Earth to show how the ice shelf's steady retreat since 2011 left Sif Island detached and alone in Pine Island Bay. 

 

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