Under the Greenland Ice Sheet

by Holly Chavez Blog

Anyone who goes on an expedition to the right part of the globe can encounter huge amounts of ice, but Greenland has something very unique: ice sculptures that are hidden underneath the northern ice sheet.
Under the Greenland Ice Sheet

Regiones: Ártico

Destinos: Groenlandia

A Mysterious World of Sculptures is Hidden Underneath Greenland's Ice Sheets

Anyone who goes on an expedition to the right part of the globe can encounter huge amounts of ice, but a Greenland cruise has something very unique: ice sculptures that are hidden underneath the northern ice sheet. Scientists used to believe that these sculptures were rocky hills that had gotten buried in ice, which would have made them similar to the Ghost Mountains in Antarctica. Instead, it turns out that Mother Nature has created one of the most exclusive art exhibits in the world. After all, humans cannot see the sculptures from the surface of the ice sheet, but some scientists have been able to get a sneak peek by using radar equipment.  

When Were the Sculptures Discovered?

The first evidence of these ice sculptures, which are often referred to as jellyroll sculptures, was found in 2010. At that time, a piece of the Petermann Glacier that was approximately the same size as Manhattan broke free and slid down into the ocean. Researchers found at least part of one of these sculptures revealed and laying on top of one section of the glacier after that incident. Interestingly, the portion of the glacier in question was moving at a pace that doubled other nearby sheets of ice. The prevailing theory is that the exposed ice sculpture began melting once it was exposed to sunlight, and the mixture of melting and refreezing sped up the glacier. 

In 2014, ice-penetrating radar equipment was finally advanced enough to enable a team of researchers to get their first virtual look at these hidden sculptures. Although it is now believed that the unusual ice that was observed in 2010 was part of a sculpture, scientists at that time were still operating under the assumption that there were hills under the ice instead of oddly shaped formations.

How Big Are the Sculptures?

One of the most fascinating things about the ice sculptures hidden in Greenland is the fact that they are as tall as Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Some researchers believe that they are even bigger than the two tallest buildings in Manhattan combined. In fact, these massive ice formations are most likely 3,280 feet tall, and this helps paint a fascinating picture of just how much space exists in Greenland between the ground and the top of the ocean. 

What do the Sculptures Look Like?

Radar imaging shows that the ice is not formed in even layers. Instead, it has what has been referred to as the appearance of an icy jelly roll. The ice that forms these sculptures is twisted, bent and folded, and this has caused its location to shift. Scientists estimate that the ice is 120,000 years old, but the sculptures are much closer to than surface than would typically be expected. Instead of being buried 1.5 miles underneath the top ice sheet, Mother Nature’s art show is currently resting about 0.6 miles beneath the surface.

What Does This Teach Us?

The novelty of ice formations is interesting enough, but there are also some interesting bits of information that can be gleaned from this discovery. For example, it is now believed that these sculptures are created due to the melting and refreezing process. This could be indicative of global warming, and it is intriguing to ponder the possibilities of what Greenland’s glaciers could look like in the future. Scientists are also currently applying this new data to projections regarding glacial melting worldwide, and this could allow them to provide vital warning time to areas that will eventually be affected by melting and shifting ice. 

Future Explorations

It is a virtual certainty that radar methods will continue to evolve, and this will make it possible for future generations of scientists to study the ice sculptures more closely. Right now, we cannot say with any certainty if the ice formations are all that is down there or if they are actually hiding the mountains that were once believed to be in their place. One of the most exciting things about going on expeditions is getting to visit areas that still have many secrets to share, and Greenland is definitely no exception. Keep this in mind the next time you go on an arctic adventure.

¿Le gusta este artículo? Compartir su apreciación:

Cruceros relacionados

Chevron

Spitsbergen – Noreste de Groenlandia, Volar y navegar

Un viaje clásico de tres islas: hielo, inuit y lejanía

RVR27-21. El crucero a Spitsbergen y el noreste de Groenlandia navega por aguas llenas de paisajes impresionantes. La expedición pasa a través de áreas que albergan focas, aves marinas, ballenas y osos polares.

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

Fecha del crucero:

27 jul. - 14 ago., 2021

Precio:

por encargo

Chevron

Fly & Sail - Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis

Witness the Northern Lights at Scoresby Sund

RVR29-21. The Scoresby Sund cruise travels into the largest fjord system in the world. The expedition visits historic Inuit sites, sails through sensational scenery and tops it all off with a night-time sky filled with the Northern Lights.

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

Fecha del crucero:

25 ago. - 4 sept., 2021

Precio:

4500 USD

Chevron

Spitsbergen – Noreste de Groenlandia, Aurora Boreal

Un viaje clásico de tres islas: hielo, Inuit y lejanía

PLA12-21. Los cruceros a Spitsbergen y el Noreste de Groenlandia navega por aguas llenas de paisajes impresionantes. La expedición pasa a través de áreas que albergan focas, aves marinas, ballenas y osos polares, coronada con vistas nocturnas de Auroras Boreales.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Fecha del crucero:

25 ago. - 7 sept., 2021

Precio:

6700 USD

Chevron

Spitsbergen – Noreste de Groenlandia, Aurora Boreal

Un viaje clásico de tres islas: hielo, Inuit y lejanía

OTL13-21. Los cruceros a Spitsbergen y el Noreste de Groenlandia navega por aguas llenas de paisajes impresionantes. La expedición pasa a través de áreas que albergan focas, aves marinas, ballenas y osos polares, coronada con vistas nocturnas de Auroras Boreales.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Fecha del crucero:

31 ago. - 13 sept., 2021

Precio:

6700 USD

Chevron

Este de Groenlandia – Scoresbysund, Aurora Boreal

Sea testigo de las Auroras Boreales de Scoresby Sund

PLA13-21. El este de Groenlandia - el crucero a Scoresby Sund cruza el Círculo Polar Ártico hacia las aguas de múltiples especies de ballenas. La expedición observara enormes icebergs mientras viaja hacia el sistema de fiordos más grande y profundo del mundo. En el viaje, las auroras boreales nos guiarán el c...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Fecha del crucero:

7 sept. - 15 sept., 2021

Precio:

4500 USD