Causes of Glacial Earthquakes: Value of Research

Causes of Glacial Earthquakes: Value of Research

Question: Recent research has unearthed how glacial earthquakes are caused. Explore the value of this scientific research.

- When the iceberg breaks off into the ocean, there is rapid forward and backward movement of the glacier causing characteristic glacial earthquakes

- This fresh research insight will help scientists to measure glacier calving, when an iceberg breaks off into the ocean remotely

- It will also enhance the reliability of models predicting future sea-level rise in a warming climate

- A theoretical model explaining glacial earthquakes has also been postulated

- Tool will provide unprecedented global and near real time estimates of iceberg loss from the ice sheet

- Researchers studied the largest glacier in southeast Greenland, the Helheim Glacier

- Iceberg calvings from this glacier are measured up to 4 km across with a volume of 1.25 km

- Understanding this glacier behaviour is a crucial step towards measuring calving events and their contribution to sea-level change remotely

Facts and Stats

- Glacial earthquakes have risen 7 fold in the last 2 decades

- They have been migrating northwards

- This suggests increase in mass loss rates from ice sheet through calving
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