NASA scientists clueless over mysterious ice hole circles in Arctic

25 April, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Mysterious Ice Circles In The Arctic Ocean Have Left NASA Scientists Puzzled

What started off as a routine flyover for researcher John Sonntag ended with a discovery that scientists are scrambling to explain.

"We saw these sorta-circular features only for a few minutes today", Sonntag wrote from the field.

The frozen sea of Arctic was found with unusual circles which made the scientist more curious.

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.

It's never super comforting when you hear some of the world's top scientists say things like, "I have never seen anything like that before".

NASA explains that the primary mission for the flight had been observing an area of sea ice that didn't get covered by Operation IceBridge before 2013. They're clustered together, each surrounded by one or two radiating layers of ridged, textured ice, nearly as if a batch of archery targets had melted and gone lopsided.

Not content to keep the bafflement in-house, or perhaps as a fishing expedition, the folks at Nasa presented the photo to the space-curious public.

"The ice is likely to thin, soft, and mushy and somewhat pliable". They claim that the ice in that place was thin and the phenomenon was called "finger rafting", a feature that forms when floes collide. To the left of them, you can see what NASA terms "wave-like features", and to the right, tracing a vertical line through the image, "finger rafting". All around them are bumpy formations that mean the ice is thin and relatively new, NASA said in a statement. One of the more interesting potential explanations is that the holes are the result of animals such as seals digging their way through the ice. User Scott Stensland came close when he guessed the circles were open water holes in ice created by ocean mammals, such as seals.

"The encircling features may be due to waves of water washing out over the snow and ice when the seals surface Or, it could be a sort of drainage feature that results from when the hole is made in the ice".

"This is in pretty shallow water generally, so there is every chance this is just "warm springs" or seeps of ground water flowing from the mountains inland that make their presence known in this particular area", said Chris Shuman, a University of Maryland at Baltimore County glaciologist, according to NASA.