In record speed grows under a glacier in the Antarctic, a huge cavity. He was ten kilometers long and four kilometers wide, and therefore as large as two-thirds of the land area of Manhattan.

The largest part of the ice had melted within the last three years, and the resulting cavity is 350 meters high, write researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the US space Agency Nasa in the journal “Science Advances”. It was a disturbing discovery, said Nasa. Now must be explored, such as the melting process of the sea level influence.

The hollow space that has taken 14 billion tons of ice, is located under the Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica. The Rock under the glacier is much deeper than the level of the sea. The largest part of the ice had melted within the last three years by the ingress of sea water, the researchers write.

“We have for years suspected that Thwaites is not firmly connected to the substrate,” says Co-author Eric Rignot. With the new satellite, it was possible for the first time, to measure the change of the glacier and the extent of the cavity. Since 2010, Nasa satellites observe the glacier with a high-resolution Radar.

“the size of The cave under the glacier plays an important role in the melting process,” says first author Pietro Milillo. “If there is more heat and water under the glacier, melting it faster.” The entire Thwaites glacier is as big as Florida, and currently 4 percent of the sea level rise.

Would melt the entire glacier, could increase the world’s oceans of about 65 centimeters, said in the Nasa statement. To understand “how the ocean melts these glaciers, it is essential to calculate the exact influence of the increase of the Sea in the coming decades,” says Rignot.

dpa