Crumbling Glaciers Causing Earthquakes

17 10 2008

On the west coast of Greenland, a glacier’s crumbling edge is producing seismic groans. As the Arctic warms, scientists are keeping a close eye the Jakobshavn glacier. Already one of the world’s fastest moving ice streams, over the last decade scientists watched alarmed as it sped up further, sometimes sliding dozens of feet per day toward the Ilulissat Fjord. The heightened activity is having strange side effects. In 2003, scientists first noticed the glacier producing earthquakes between magnitude 4.6 and 5.1 in strength. The quakes happened slowly, over a period of 30 minutes to several hours, and were undetectable by people even though they registered on seismometers around the globe. Now a new study suggests the huge icebergs breaking off the edge of Jakobshavn are to blame. (Editor: See video in sidebar about this glacier, and photos below of another glacier in Greenland.)

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Want to find out How Glaciers Work?

Satellite images of Glacial Disintegration in Greenland

Satellite images of Glacial Disintegration in Greenland (Petermann Glacier)

By the way, do you know where the world’s largest glacier is located?




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