NASA scientists admitted that they are somewhat baffled by photos which show a series of strange holes in the ice of the Arctic region’s Beaufort Sea. The images were captured by Operation IceBridge, a fleet of data-collecting research aircraft NASA routinely flies over polar environments.
Nathan Kurtz, a project scientist, told reporters that he has, “never seen anything like it before”. NASA featured the images in its April 2018 edition of “Puzzlers.”
“I’m not sure what kind of dynamics could lead to the semi-circle-shaped features surrounding the holes. I have never seen anything like that before,” states Kurtz in a NASA release.
The Nature of the Strange Ice Holes in the Arctic Still Unknown
Nobody at the space agency is suggesting anything paranormal is going on, such as the mysterious formations being made by a UFO or an unknown species of giant ice worm. Instead, it’s an artifact of the geophysics of ice dynamics.
To the left of the ice holes in the Arctic are wave-like features. To the right is something called “finger rafting.” Both of these are well-understood attributes of Arctic ice formation. Finger rafting is caused when ice floes collide. Wave-like features can be attributed to wind and wave action.
But this mysterious formation of ice holes in the Arctic is clearly something new. Kurtz said the area where the photographs were taken is comprised of young ice forming within an area of open water.
That means the ice is probably thin, pliable, and mushy. Geophysicist Don Perovich, a researcher with Dartmouth College, said the wave-like figures near the holes prove the ice here formed only recently.
Scientists do have some working theories on the matter, however. One possibility points to warm paths of water flowing beneath the ice.
Another suggestion is that a marine mammal of some kind punched holes into the ice. Indeed, the openings appear like those known to be made by harp seals and ring seals. They sometimes gnaw through the ice to make breathing holes.
Image Credits go to: NASA (EarthObservatory)