Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Brief communication
15 Jan 2015
Brief communication |  | 15 Jan 2015

Brief Communication: Sudden drainage of a subglacial lake beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

I. M. Howat, C. Porter, M. J. Noh, B. E. Smith, and S. Jeong


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Latest update: 23 May 2024
Short summary
In the summer of 2011, a large crater appeared in the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. It formed when a subglacial lake, equivalent to 10,000 swimming pools, catastrophically drained in less than 14 days. This is the first direct evidence that surface meltwater that drains through cracks to the bed of the ice sheet can build up in subglacial lakes over long periods of time. The sudden drainage may have been due to more surface melting and an increase in meltwater reaching the bed.