NASA spots mysterious holes in Arctic Ocean ice cover

NASA spots mysterious holes in Arctic Ocean ice cover

NASA spots mysterious holes in Arctic Ocean ice cover

It was taken as part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, which flies annually over both polar regions to map the region's land and sea ice. This is now in its tenth year of flying over the Arctic.

Samples from five regions of the Arctic Ocean found that there were up to 12,000 of the plastic particles per litre of sea ice. But on April 14, 2018, IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag spotted something he had never seen before.

During the Operation IceBridge mission, the scientists came through these unusual formations in the ice near the Mackenzie River Delta of Canada. At the time, the scientist wrote the following information down: "We saw these sorta-circular features only for a few minutes today".

"I do not remember seeing this kind of thing anywhere else", added scientist John Sonntag. It has conjointly been recommended it might be because of the way the water washes over the snow and ice as seals return up for air.

The scientists said they could not yet say whether the particles released from melting sea ice stayed in the Arctic, although it seems likely the plastic litter begins sinking into deeper waters fairly quickly, as they are often colonised by algae and bacteria which make them heavier and sink faster.

"Your challenge", the contest rules say, "is to use the comments section to tell us what we are looking at and why this place is interesting".

One idea is they could have some kind of animal origin.

AWI biologist and study leader Dr Ilka Peeken said: "During our work we realised that more than half of the microplastic particles trapped in the ice were less than a 20th of a millimetre wide, which means they could easily be ingested by arctic micro-organisms like ciliates, but also by copepods". Researchers have made it clear that it is not easy to accurately describe the phenomena based on photographs and satellite images alone.

"This can be seen in the wave-like features in front of the middle "amoeba". Some think they were made by seals.

"It's definitely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little snow cover", scientist Nathan Kurtz said following the mission. "I have never seen anything like that ever before". Initial analysis revealed that ice was thin and young and as per The National Snow and Ice Data Center's Walt Meier, the holes might have been formed due to the Arctic Ocean water drifting over the ice.

Perovich goes on to note that there might be a general left to right motion of the new ice as evidenced by the finger rafting on the right side of the image. As a result of the collision, blocks of ice slide above and below each other in a pattern that resembles a zipper or interlocking fingers.

Window view of the NASA IceBridge P-3 research plane. He's also the one who snapped that photo of the crack on one of the largest ice shelves that ultimately gave the world an iceberg the size of Delaware. This warm water could be the result of warm springs as well as different currents that flood their way through the Arctic Ocean and eventually reach the top, carving circular shapes in the sheets of ice.

A research plane flying over the Beaufort Sea took photos of the unusual holes in the ice which experts, and non-experts, have guessed were caused by seals, waves, aliens or submarines. For now, the mystery will remain unsolved - at least until further research is conducted.

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