Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a fjord in western Greenland as the ice was joined by a mysterious arc.
“In summer, the fjords around Greenland are commonly littered with angular pieces of ice that have sloughed off from the island’s numerous outlet glaciers. But on August 3, 2023, the ice on a fjord in western Greenland was joined by a peculiar arc,” said NASA.
“The thin, white feature spans much of Itilliarsuup Kangerlua, a tributary fjord of the Uummannaq Fjord system in Western Greenland. It extends about 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) from the front of Kangilleq glacier.”
While the origin of the arc remains unclear, experts have proposed some possible theories. Dan Shugar, a geomorphologist at the University of Calgary, suggests that the arc may be the result of a large iceberg that broke off from the front of the glacier.
“An iceberg breaking from the glacier – above or below the water’s surface – would displace water, creating a wave,” explained NASA.
“Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Mike Wood, a glaciologist at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, agree that a newly formed iceberg is a likely explanation.”
The scientists also pointed to a different phenomenon that is known to displace water in the fjords around Greenland. According to Willis, there could be water pushing ice away from the glacier face caused by an underwater plume.
The image was captured by the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
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