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Increasing Instability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet- a Threat to All

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is considered as a very stable body that does not gain or lose mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland diminishes.

However, it has the capacity to raise the sea level for up to 53 meters (174 feet) by locking away enough water. After the latest research it has been found that its stability is on stake because of environment change and global warming. Researchers used advance equipment that captured pictures of the seafloor, including geological formations created by the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The changes reflected how glaciers have retreated over millions of years. Researchers have used the seismic technology from the back of an ice breaker that has been appointed near Antarctica's Sabrina Coast. The glaciers in the region are more sensitive to climate change because they flow from the Aurora Basin that mostly lies below sea level. It is found that the stability of glaciers from the Aurora Basin has only been for the last few million years but not for always. Scientists have found that unlike the theory of stability, dynamic ice sheets have been noticed that grew and shrank strangely between certain periods. The data collected reflect that ice expanded from the Aurora Basin and withdrawn back again at least eleven times during the first 20 million years of the history of ice sheet. The meltwater channels were submerged into the rock below the ice, and "tunnel valleys" were formed after this process. Due to frequent climate change and global warming there is a strong possibility of melting of the East Antarctic glaciers. If it happens it could make the ice sheet shift back into unstable condition. This condition is not going to be a good sign.

By: Anita Aishvarya