Two huge lakes that used to lie beneath Greenland’s ice sheet have mysteriously disappeared and researchers have no idea what happened to them.
One lake was so big that now it has been drained of water, a two-kilometre-wide crater has been left behind, while the other has now emptied and then refilled again on two occasions in the past two years.
Scientists from Ohio State and Cornell universities, who have been conducting research on Greenland’s terrain, have admitted they have been left dumbfounded by the vanishing acts.
One researcher explained that he spotted a massive hole – which he said was twice the size of New York’s iconic Central Park – in an ice cap in northern Greenland. Among the initial theories were that a volcano had erupted or it had been hit by a meteor, until they recently realised it was actually what was left behind from a sub-glacial lake that had been drained of its contents.
When the water drained, the ice above caved in, leading to the formation of the crater. Further studies then showed that something similar had happened elsewhere.
It remains unclear as to why the lakes drained so quickly, but scientists believe climate change could have been a factor. They said if this was the case, the melting of such lakes in the future would be a major worry as the surrounding ice could also end up disappearing, which in turn would result in rising sea levels.