(SCI-NEWS) Two teams of researchers – one led by Dr Ian Howat of the Ohio State University, and the other led by Dr Michael Willis of Cornell University – have discovered two lakes of meltwater that pooled beneath the ice and suddenly drained away.
One lake, described in the journal Cryosphere, once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a giant crater – 2 km across and around 70 m deep – in just a few weeks.
Dr Howat and his colleagues detected the crater on a spot about 50 km inland from the southwest Greenland coast earlier in 2014.
There, previous aerial and satellite imagery indicates that a sub-glacial lake pooled for more than forty years. More recent images suggest that the lake likely emptied through a meltwater tunnel beneath the ice sheet some time in 2011.