arctic sea holes

Every year, NASA takes a trip over the Arctic in order to monitor the ice and put together information on the area where people almost never go.  It’s incredibly important to gather this kind of information because of the fact that no one ever really goes there, so how is anyone to know what’s going on?  NASA has been doing this for over a decade now, and most of the time scientists make observations, but never really make a big deal about what they find.  And why would they?  It’s never anything really that spectacular.  Until now.  Researchers have taken a photo of some features that are causing both interest, and confusion.

Normally, scientists see nothing.  It’s usually just an open expanse of ice and snow, but this time they’ve observed what appears to be large holes in the icy crust.  This, along with the wavy ice patterns, have no easy scientific explanation.  Researchers don’t know what these things are, or how they’re formed because they’ve never really seen anything like it before.  Now, they’re doing their best to figure out why this pattern exists.


As of right now, the researchers have been able to come up with a reasonable theory about the area – which may explain some of the features that were observed.  The researchers believe that the area is covered with relatively new and young ice.  They theorize that because of the age of the ice, it’s probably thin enough that it’s still flexible.  This would account for the wavy pattern on some of the ice, but the holes are a bit harder to explain.

What else could it be?  I am certainly not a scientist, so I would only be speculating if I were to make a guess.  Some researchers suggest that the holes might be remnants of meteorites, or maybe even dried up salt lakes.  Which are both, relatively harmful explanations.  No one is identifying it as crop circles or some other kind of alien landing.  At least not yet.  Another researcher suggests that these might be seal breathing holes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A hole for a seal to come to the surface in order to breathe.  Harp and ring seals have been known to make these kinds of holes in thinner Arctic sea ice, and then use those holes repeatedly to come up for air.

Beluga whales

In order for the seal theory to hold up, there needs to be a good explanation for why the sea ice in this particular spot is thin enough for seals to break through.  Seal hole or not, this isn’t a good thing.  These holes could be the result of warmer water coming in from the nearby Mackenzie delta, which is a shallow outpouring of the Mackenzie River from the nearby Canadian coast.  Warmer water from the river flows into the ocean, and because warm water is less dense than cold water, it naturally floats to the surface in plumes.  This could have thinned the ice, thus giving seals the ability to break through.

As of right now, scientists don’t know what is causing this, but when they do, I sure hope it adds to a conspiracy theory.

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