The Totten Glacier is one of the fastest-flowing and largest glaciers in Antarctica with scientists keen to keep a close eye on how it melts given the enormous amount of water it could potentially unleash.
Using artificially created seismic waves that help scientists see through the ice, researchers have discovered that more of the Totten Glacier floats on the ocean than initially thought.
“In some locations we thought were grounded, we detected the ocean below indicating that the glacier is in fact floating,” said Paul Winberry from Central Washington University, who spent the summer in Antarctica studying the Totten.
The findings are important because recent studies have shown the Totten Glacier’s underbelly is already being eroded by warm, salty sea water flowing hundreds of kilometres inland after passing through underwater “gateways”.
Source: Sea level fears as more of giant Antarctic glacier floating than thought