During the routine flyover done by the NASA scientist in the Arctic Ocean earlier this month, a NASA scientist photographed a mysterious ice hole in the eastern part of the Beaufort Sea. The captured holes appear to be the first of their types ever captured on film. The researchers are finding difficulty to identify what they are and how are they formed. The flyover routine done by the scientist photographer seems to be an intriguing issue not only to the researchers but to other scientists.
John Sonntag, the NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission scientist, captured the images on his camera. The captured images were noted about 50 miles about the Northwest of Canada’s River Delta. Although the main purpose of the mission is to conduct an observation on the sea ice, it is, therefore, the mysterious holes had become the highlight of the trip.
Nathan Kurtz, one of the project scientist, explained that the images exist in the area of the ice. The scientist is still not sure if what causes them and what created these holes. Kurtz is not sure what kind of dynamics could lead the circle-shaped features of the holes. Nathan also added that he has never seen like these holes before.
Walt Meier, the scientist of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, also suggested that these circles could be the result of the water washing over the ice and snow especially when the seals surface for air. According to him, this might also be the cause of the drainage feature from the hole and what makes the hole.
Chris Shuman, a glaciologist based at the NASA’s Space Flight Center which is also a glaciologist at the University of Maryland also suggested that the holes could be the result of the warm water that melted through the arctic ocean. Or this could be the result of either of the warm springs and form groundwater flowing from the mountains. According to Chris Shuman, this might also be the result of the currents which makes its way to the surface of the ocean.
At the moment, with only the photography at hand, the cause of the holes remain to be unsolved and mysterious. At least until more information about these holes can be collected to solve the mystery behind the formations of the captured holes. Today, NASA continues to deploy missions to the arctic ocean.