Rare Sub-Glacial Water Eruption – Jökalhlaup – In Antarctica Near Australia’s Casey Station Outbursts Melt Water Enigmas

In only the second reported incident of its type in Antarctica a Jökulhlaup, or sudden outburst of basal melt water from beneath the ice cap, erupted near Robinsons Ridge, 15 kilometres south of Casey.

Australian scientists are hoping this rare sub-glacial water eruption will reveal why meltwater is present, and the extent of a river and dam system flowing deep under the Law Dome ice cap.

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Refrozen basal melt water. Photo by Ali Dean

The first eruption occurred in 1985-86. The new eruption was first noticed as scientists observed springs of flowing water erupting from the surface of the ice during the 2014 winter, before refreezing.

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The Jökulhlaup at Robinsons Ridge, Anatarctica near Australia’s Casey station. Photo by Ali Dean

The refrozen water is has a striking olive-green colour, which contrasts sharply with the surrounding blue ice and white snow.

Moreover, this potentially very old water probably holds key information about the conditions under the ice of Law Dome.

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Zoom in of the sub-glacial eruption. Photo by Ali Dean

Watch the amazing footage of the Eyjafjallajökull glacial flood (jökalhlaup) on April 14th 2010. It’s insane:

Samples of the frozen Jökalhlaup water are currently being collected by scientists, which will then be chemically and isotopically analysed in different universities to pinpoint the origin of the basal water and understand the past and present behaviour of the ice cap, and how it might evolve in the future.

Refrozen Jökulhlaup water over the ice has a striking olive-green colour, Rare Antarctic sub-glacial eruption, rare water eruption Jökulhlaup in Antarctica, water eruption antarctica Jökalhlaup, amazing water eruption antarctica Jökalhlaup, Refrozen basal melt water. Photo by Ali Dean, The Jökulhlaup at Robinsons Ridge, Anatarctica near Australia's Casey station. Photo by Ali Dean, Zoom in of the sub-glacial eruption
Refrozen Jökulhlaup water over the ice has a striking olive-green colour. Photo by Ali Dean

Previous results have shown that Law Dome had high geo-thermal heat emanating from the Earth’s crust which was melting the bottom of the ice cap before flowing into the ocean through gigantic ice systems under the ice sheet.

Or is there a volcano down there?

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