A group of scientists and engineers, led by the
The British Antarctic Survey has dug a 1.3-mile deep hole in the West Antarctic through the ice-cover – the deepest hole ever made with hot water in the region, according to BBC News.
Reaching the Rutford ice stream, researchers hope to understand how the area reacts to warming
Climate, according to a press release.
The project named Bed Access, Surveillance and Ice Sheet History (BEAMISH) comes after 20 years of planning. Another hole was tried in 2004, but failed.
But on January 8, after 63 hours of uninterrupted drilling at temperatures as low as -22 ° F, the team broke through to the sediment 760 meters below the surface. A series of instruments were then threaded through the wellbore to detect the water pressure, ice temperature, and deformation of the surrounding ice.
"I have been waiting for this moment for a long time and I am pleased that we have finally reached our goal," said senior scientist Andy Smith in the press release. "There are gaps in knowledge about what is happening in West Antarctica, and by studying the area where the ice is on soft sediment, we can better understand how this region can change in the future and contribute to global development
Sea level rises."
Both the Greenlandic and Antarctic ice sheets have been alarming in recent years due to rising temperatures on Earth. The West Antarctic, which has enough ice to raise the oceans, is 17.32 feet
regarded as one of the most unstable parts of the continent. The region now loses 159 billion tons of ice each year.
"We know warmer ocean waters are destroying many West Antarctic glaciers," said Keith Makinson, a British Oceanographic Physical Oceanographer, in the news release. "We're trying to understand how slippery the sediment beneath these glaciers is and how fast they could drain from the continent into the sea, which will help us determine the future rise in West Antarctic sea level with greater confidence."
The team drilled a second hole on January 22, a few miles from their first location. Research is expected to continue until mid-February 2018.
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