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Cracking Down

Cracking Down

Glaciologist Ian Joughin of the University of Washington poses near a large fracture in the center of a recently drained basin of meltwater on top of the Greenland ice sheet. Large blocks of ice, likely broken off when the lake drained, are scattered across the surface and in the crack. Joughin and WHOI glaciologist Sarah Das recently documented the sudden and complete drainage of such a lake and, in the process, uncovered a plumbing system where meltwater can penetrate the ice and accelerate some of the large-scale summer movements of the ice sheet. Das, Joughin and colleagues will return to Greenland this summer to continue their studies. (Sarah Das, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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