East Antarctic Ice Has a Wild Past. It May Be a Harbinger
The East Antarctic ice sheet has fluctuated wildly in the past, a study finds—adding to concerns of a dramatic meltback in the future.
Scientists sounding the seabed off Antarctica have uncovered some surprising episodes from the continent’s history: The East Antarctic Ice Sheet, they say, experienced a series of dramatic retreats in the distant past—retreats that were often punctuated by catastrophic floods of meltwater that erupted from beneath the ice sheet and left deep scars in the seafloor.
The ice covering East Antarctica, more than 12,000 feet thick in many places, has long been considered more stable and permanent than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet —and thus more likely to weather global warming unscathed. But the new research, published this week in Nature by Sean Gulick of the University of Texas, Amelia Shevenell of the University of South Florida, and their