Two lakes beneath the ice in Greenland disappear within weeks

Scientists baffled as billions of litres of water just drain away

Scientists as yet have no idea why two gigantic Greenlandic lakes were mysteriously drained of billions of litres of water – one of them in a matter of weeks.

One lake was so large that a two km-wide crater was left behind after it was drained. Another sub-glacial lake has been emptied and refilled twice in the last two years.

The disappearing lakes came as a surprise to researchers engaged in a joint study of Greenlandic terrain being conducted by Cornell and Ohio State universities in the US.

A big hole
A researcher noticed a hole twice the size of New York’s Central Park in an ice cap in northern Greenland. Original theories included a meteor strike or perhaps a volcano, until it became clear that the hole was the remnant of a sub-glacial lake that had drained away. 

The draining of the water caused the ice above it to cave in and created the massive crater. Further research revealed another lake exhibiting the same odd characteristics.

Climate change could be the culprit
While what caused the lakes to drain so quickly is not clear, many researchers have pointed to climate change as a possible cause and believe that the emptying of subglacial lakes is a cause for concern. If the phenomenon continues, it could result in the melting away of the ice that surrounds the lake. 

Large ice blocks could end up in the ocean and contribute to water levels rising and threatening coastal cities across the world.

READ MORE: Greenland breaks June heat record

It is unclear whether other lakes in Greenland are disappearing.





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