This cavity has an area of two-thirds of Manhattan, and NASA researchers called this discovery "disturbing."
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Researchers have previously warned that the enormous Thuat Glacier could trigger a sudden collapse of ice cover, which could raise global sea level by 10 feet.
The researchers expected to find some gaps between the ice and the bedrock at the bottom of the Thwaites, where ocean water could penetrate and melt the glacier from below.
The size of the beat and the speed of explosive growth of the newly found hole surprised them.
Researcher Eric Rigno of the University of California Irving said: “For many years, we suspected that the Thweits were not closely tied to the bedrock under it.
“With the new generation of satellites, we can finally see the details.”
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MORE: RSPCA appeal after a dog is found strangled and tied to a tree branch in the middle of the road
This cavity was detected by an ice-penetrating radar as part of NASA's IceBridge operation, an air campaign starting in 2010 that studies the links between the polar regions and the global climate.
The researchers also used data from the constellation of Italian and German synthetic-aperture space radars.
This very high resolution data can be processed by a method called radar interferometry to show how the lower surface of the earth moved between images.
“The size of the cavity under the glacier plays an important role in melting,” said NASA lead researcher Pietro Milillo.
"The more heat and water gets under the glacier, the faster it melts."
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