Holes in Arctic Ice a Mystery

Mysterious Ice Circles In The Arctic Ocean Have Left NASA Scientists Puzzled

On April 14, 2018, IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag spotted something he had never seen before.

The photo, below, was shot by mission scientist John Sontag while flying over in a P-3 aircraft.

With all this technology, the world's leading scientific minds still couldn't come up with a reason behind three paisley-shaped holes in the ice surface.

Suggestions ranged from the holes being possible remnants of meteorites to gnawed through by seals to allow them to resurface for air breaks. Now they are all set to find out about it. NASA's yearly flight over the poles also known as operation Icebridge was astonished to observe such odd formations near Canada's Mackenzie River Delta.

They know that the ice there is, as sea ice geophysicist Don Perovich told Nasa, "likely thin, soft and mushy and somewhat pliable".

"This can be seen in the wave-like features in front of the middle "amoeba".

"It's definitely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little snow cover", adds Nathan Kurtz, a project scientist from the IceBridge mission.

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If that's the case, it's possible the larger circles that surround the holes come from the behaviour of the seals, forming freezing puddles as the animals emerge from their frigid dip.

Walt Meier, a National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist, stated, "The encircling features may be due to waves of water washing out over the snow and ice when the seals surface".

But luckily, this puzzling picture of holes in a sheet of Arctic ice appears to be more of an interesting brain teaser than the discovery of, say, giant ice worms.

But then again, maybe not.

Somewhere in the Arctic sea ice, where the temperatures are typically below freezing on even the balmiest days, there is a random pattern of holes, and Nasa - the literal rocket scientists who took us to the moon and want to take us to Mars - can't figure out what they are. They've been known to carve breathing holes out of sea ice as deep as 7 feet. Some think they were made by seals.

You might not know Sonntag's name, but you've nearly definitely seen his photographic portfolio before, as his day job sees him aerially documenting the wintry, white vistas that define the world's evolving Arctic and Antarctic landscapes.

Other suggestions include warm springs made from groundwater flowing from the mountains, or the warmer currents of the Beaufort Sea or the nearby Mackenzie River reaching the surface.

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