dinsdag 20 januari 2015

Meteorite or doline?

There is a been a lot of buzz lately on the discovery of a crater structure on the Roi Baudouin ice shelf, presumably close to the grounding line (i.e. in the zone where the weather station is located).

On one of their research flights departing from the PE base, our colleagues from AWI discovered a circular structure. They suggested that this feature might (!) be explained by a recent impact of a meteorite. National and international media widely published this as a possible new meteorite site, although direct evidence of that - so far - lacks. In fact, we suggest that this feature more likely resembles the remnants of a doline, a supraglacial lake filled with surface meltwater, that has drained catastrophically into a basal rupture. However, also this hypothesis, although extremely interesting for our BENEMELT project, needs to be verified by in-situ analysis. In that respect, we plan to return to the site next year (beginning of 2016) to measure the characteristics of the crater. In that way, this finding will become an unexpected, though very relevant, part of our field studies and analysis. More on these exciting plans come in a later stage, but we can't wait for next field season...

Jan explained the doline formation on the Flemish TV news on the evening of Monday 19 January.

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