Do you know the moon influences the flow of a massive ice stream in Antarctica? Yes, you can blame the different phases of the moon for the ice stream’s courses! — according to scientists.
According to scientists, the Rutford Ice Stream varies its speed by almost 20 percent every two weeks! This is reported in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Nature. The Rutford Ice Stream is a river of ice larger than the Netherlands that drains the West Antarctic Ice Sheet!
The scientists found that the change coincides to the bi-weekly tidal cycle. It is when the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun are either working together or working against each other.
Study author Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey said,
We’ve never seen anything like this before. The discovery that the spring-neap tidal cycle exerts such a strong influence on an ice stream tens of kilometers away is a total surprise. For such a large mass of ice to respond to ocean tides like this illustrates how sensitively the Antarctic Ice Sheet reacts to environmental changes. Glaciologists need now to rethink how the Antarctic Ice Sheets reacts to external forces.