A HUGE lake in Antarctica has vanished from satellite pictures, according to stunned researchers.
The ice covered lake is thought to have quietly disappeared from the Amery Ice Shelf in Eat Antarctica sometime in 2019.
The lake was said to hold 600-750 million cubic metres of water but was partially covered in ice[/caption]
A study about the disappearing lake has been published online in the Geophysical Research Letters journal.
It describes how 600-750 million cubic metres of water from the lake is thought to have returned to the ocean.
That’s more than all the water in Sydney Harbour.
Satellite imagery from Nasa was used to narrow down a time period in which the lake could have disappeared.
The icy lake appeared to have drained away in later satellite imagery[/caption]
The main theory is that the weight of the water cracked ice below the ice shelf and the crack caused the water to flow into the sea.
This process is thought to have happened over just three days.
Study lead author Roland Warner told said: “We believe the weight of water accumulated in this deep lake opened a fissure in the ice shelf beneath the lake, a process known as hydrofracture, causing the water to drain away to the ocean below.”
There’s concern that climate change could see a loss in even more ice shelf lakes in the coming decades.
The researchers write in their study: “Antarctic surface melting has been projected to double by 2050, raising concerns about the stability of other ice shelves.
They note that “processes such as hydrofracture and flexure remain under-studied, and ice-sheet models do not yet include realistic treatment of these processes.”
It’s thought the fracture in the base of the lake sealed and the area began to fill up with water again in 2020.
Researchers think the new smaller lake could already be leaking back into the ocean.
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In other news, Earth now has five oceans, according to National Geographic.
Scientists recently drilled the deepest manmade ocean hole in the world off the coast of Japan.
And, Japan has said radioactive water waste collected at the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have to be dumped in the ocean.
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