Largest sub-glacial flood ever recorded, leaves massive ice crater in Antarctica ice sheet

July 2, 2013ANTARCTICA Scientists have seen evidence for a colossal flood under Antarctica that drained six billion tonnes of water, quite possibly straight to the ocean. The cause is thought to be a deeply buried lake that suddenly over-topped. Satellites were used to map the crater that developed as the 2.7 km-thick overlying ice sheet slumped to fill the void left by the escaping water. The peak discharge would have been more than double the normal flow rate of London’s River Thames, researchers say. The location of the flood was Cook Sub-Glacial Lake (SGL) in the east of the continent, and the event itself occurred over a period of about 18 months in 2007-2008. It was detected and described using a combination of data gathered by the now-retired US Icesat mission and Europe’s new Cryosat platform. The American spacecraft’s laser altimeter first noted a drop in the ice-surface height associated with the slumping. The European satellite’s radar altimeter was then employed to map the shape of the crater that resulted. “The crater’s a big feature,” said Dr Malcolm McMillan from the UK’s University of Leeds and lead author of a report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “It covers an area of about 260 sq km, which is about the size of Edinburgh, and was as much as 70m deep,” he told BBC News. “We knew from the Icesat data there had been a big elevation change, but it’s only now with Cryosat that we’ve been able to appreciate the true scale of what happened.” The geometry of the crater has enabled the team to gauge the volume of water involved in the outburst and the rate at which it was dispersed. The group’s upper estimate is 6.4 cubic km – very nearly as much as is stored in Scotland’s famous Loch Ness. At the peak of the flood, water would have been flowing away from Cook SGL at a rate of 160 cubic metres per second, the team says.  This dwarfs all previously reported sub-glacial “purge” events. 
“Further downstream, there was an inflation of the ice,” explained team-member Hugh Corr from the British Antarctic Survey. “But whether all that water reaches the ocean, or re-freezes onto the underside of the ice, or even melts more ice with its heat – we just don’t know. It will, though, change the lubrication.” Certainly, six billion tonnes of water that was previously stored on land would be a lot to lose to the ocean in a short time. At present, Antarctica is losing mass at a rate of between 50-100 billion tonnes a year, helping to raise global sea level. This study suggests that a not insignificant fraction of this mass loss could be due to flood events like that seen at Cook SLG. “This one lake on its own represents 5-10% of [Antarctica’s] annual mass imbalance,” said Leeds co-author Prof Andy Shepherd. “If there are nearly 400 of these sub-glacial lakes then there’s a chance a handful of them are draining each year, and that needs to be considered,” he told BBC News. –BBC
contribution Wiseguy
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Flooding, High-risk potential hazard zone, Magnetic pole migration, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Strange high tides & freak waves, Subglacial flood event, Time - Event Acceleration, Unprecedented Flooding, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Largest sub-glacial flood ever recorded, leaves massive ice crater in Antarctica ice sheet

  1. Germaine Andreas says:

    If all that water starts coming down??   



  2. svartvatten says:

    Pictures? My imagination is too short for this.


  3. olden1936 says:

    Don’t worry it’s a freak event; it’ll all be back to normal next week; the anti-climate change folks have always assured us it is all in our minds!


    • i dont think anyone is anti-climate change they called it global warming remember and changed it to climate change when they were made to look like imbeciles by the cold weather. Climate change is real but it is mostly not man made. unless its Harrp but something is changing the weather its called the sun. oh and perhaps that planetary body which is allegedly coming into the solar system.


    • ScottinTexas says:

      Please don’t be confused – the issue with the so-called “anti-climate change folks” has not been whether our climate was or was not changing; it is not yet trending toward hot or cold, but is erratic (amazingly hot in some places and amazingly cold in others, and at the wrong times for year for it). The issue was whether human beings were primarily responsible such changes; for which there is NO evidence, except for that which has been manufactured (as in made up, lies). You need to check out Planet X and its effect on our solar system.


    • nanoduck says:

      LOL. It is sad that the argument about climate change has become too political. Definitely climate change going on, but it’s not man made and there is nothing we can really do about it.


  4. Kajajuk says:

    Interesting. I wonder how many other 5 year old events are yet to be revealed.


  5. Mark.R says:

    Don’t know where they get the info on ice loss at Antarctica.
    Have a look at this more ice there than ever.


  6. Sam1967 says:

    Paying money to anyone/everyone is not going to stop the sun from heating up the planet. 97-percent of Greenland’s ice-sheet melted in 4-days last June 2012. Let’s say you have a tire and it’s being changed at a tire service center, the mechanic mistakenly placed all of the lead weights on only one side of the tire without doing a proper counterbalance check. As you drove the car down the road, this would cause the tire to wobble. Same thing is happening to this planet, the weight is shifting south from the ice melt offs. The added weight on the ocean floor is pulling continents/islands down into the ocean, shifting tectonic plates and causing earthquakes/sinkholes/increased volcanic activity, and changes in weather patterns (gulf/jet streams–Europe in mini ice age).

    Throw in another 50 to 100 billion tonnes of water into the ocean per year and you have the makings of some disastrous effects ahead. Anyway, that’s my two-cents of knowledge on this matter. It makes sense, too much sense. I scare myself sometimes.


  7. michael says:

    Hoo is to say that there may be a volcano in the neighborhood and it melted this lake, I mean there going off all around the world, why not there.


  8. aaronwt says:

    This happened five or six years ago.


  9. cadds2 says:

    I believe you may have hit the nail on the head michael. Volcanic activity both above the ocean surface and under have increased significantly lately. This is very focused. I believe a volcano is probably below the ice causing this to happen. Increased volcanic activity of possibly thousands below the ocean surface (and they are just touching the tip of this subject and finding new ones constantly) can do none other than help warm the ocean waters. Warmer oceans, faster evaporation into the atmosphere, more rain and more snow. More summer evaporations, more flooding. The more snow we get during the winters, the longer it takes to melt it off and then another winter comes…etc. You get the drift. Waning sunspot activity may have a big part in this picture as well. Sunspot activity is approaching a solar minimum and all iceages of different intensities are preceded by solar minimums.


    • Kajajuk says:

      What happened to the seismic activity, the steam generated, and the ash cloud?


      • cadds2 says:

        Seismic instruments are probably not monitoring those areas but only more populated areas. Deep underwater volcanoes are buffered a lot by the cooler deep water so the explosions are minimized and contained in the ocean, not the atmosphere. Do your research on this. Here is a starting place.
        The only way it can reach the atmosphere is if it is close to the surface and only then will ash and sediment be able to overcome the shallow water. As far as steam goes, that whole area is capped off by ice. All warmer water is contained underneath its surface. It may produce steam if it melts all the way through. That remains to be seen. I am just speculating but feel this may be the answer for these melting pockets.


  10. cadds2 says:

    I went to the satellite photo of that location (156 E, 72.8 S) and as well defined as the photos are (you can see bolders on the anartic edges and ice flows) there is no deformation in that location anymore. It’s like it never happened. I do believe it was an under the ice anomoly like a small volcano (Kajajuk do your research, there would be no ash cloud because the water squashes all that debris and secondly, it is beneath the icecap. There is no place for steam to show since it never melted through. Just probably generated a lot of hot water) Since this happened so long ago, there doesn’t seem to be any traces of the event. I didn’t check the seismology data during that time.


  11. tonic says:

    It happened a few years ago when the hockey stick thing was being beamed across the world and you were a charlatan if you dared question it. Its reckless, and weak to keep this information hidden until now.
    There is some process occurring in the core of this planet, and because we do not know how the core operates, we can only guess what will be witnessed on the surface. And this is one of them. Maybe.


  12. She-ra says:

    There are a bunch of natural phenomena that effect climate. The extent of manmade changes, (especially by agriculture) is difficult to determine since there are no geological records for them. However, the increase in GHG and the decrease in CO2 consuming plant life due to humans has changed the climate. We are going to find out how much.


  13. cadds2 says:

    I strongly believe that humans affect the weather in a very miniscule way. Comparatively, a single volcano spewing ash and gases into the sky puts out more pollution in a single eruption than manmade pollution throughout the world could do in 10 years. I have heard so much about CO2 being a bad gas that we need to squelch and charge people and businesses for emitting it, yet plant life thrive on CO2. Without it they would die and in small amounts would produce very weak growth.
    She-ra, you are dead on that many naturally occurring events affects this little earth. Our solar system is just like a clock, literally. We set our watches by it. Celestial body alignments, solar cycles, wobble of the earth on its axis, reversing magnetic poles, elongated orbits of our solar system all play a part in some way to geological events on this globe as well as its weather. They all rotate and fall into a synchronization that is mind boggling. Within the earth’s seemingly randomness weather events is a stronger clock that dwarfs our manmade effects which is like a leaf falling into the great lake Erie. You’d never notice it 10 feet away much less on the other side of the massive lake. The reason we freak out is because our records are so short in the time scheme of this earth. We can only conjecture what this mighty clock will bring yet I feel that behind much of the climate change drive accusing man of making ripples felt across “lake Erie” is money driven by the folks pushing it. They scare others who don’t study for themselves but just feed on the bait and give them praise and money. I am all for responsible omissions simply to help keep things cleaner but I refuse to worship the environment since it is merely subject to the effects of ‘the clock’ which we have virtually zero affect as men.
    You are correct…we are going to see what the mighty clock has in store for us and there is absolutely nothing we can do but adapt to the changes.


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