SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

These mysterious Arctic ice holes have NASA scientists puzzled

It's never super comforting when you hear some of the world's top scientists say things like, "I have never seen anyt...

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 7:39 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2018 7:39 PM

It's never super comforting when you hear some of the world's top scientists say things like, "I have never seen anything like that before."

But luckily, this puzzling picture of holes in a sheet of Arctic ice appears to be more of an interesting brain teaser than the discovery of, say, giant ice worms.

The photo was taken in the Beaufort Sea near the Arctic Ocean by NASA's Operation IceBridge. Every year, during Operation IceBridge, a fleet of research aircraft fly over both polar regions, capturing detailed and fascinating images of some of Earth's most frigid and least-visited locales.

In the middle of this image, you can see three spots: Those are the holes in the ice. To the left of them, you can see what NASA terms "wave-like features," and to the right, tracing a vertical line through the image, "finger rafting."

According to NASA, finger rafting happens when ice floes collide, forming a jagged ridge at the spot of their joining.

But it's the holes that really piqued NASA's interest.

"It's definitely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little snow cover," IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz said in a NASA release. "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."

The photo was featured as NASA's April 2018 "Puzzler," a series that features an interesting image and encourages people to guess what they are seeing. Which makes sense, since even the people who took the picture are doing some guessing.

According to a release from NASA, there are a few working theories: The holes could be a result of warm paths of water flowing underneath the ice, or they could be the result of some marine mammal, like a harp seal, poking up from under the ice's surface to breathe.

West Lafayette
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 52°
Kokomo
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
Rensselaer
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Fowler
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 52°
Williamsport
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 43°
Crawfordsville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 44°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Delphi
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
Monticello
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 46°
Logansport
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Another cold one before we warm up! Patchy frost is possible tonight.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 730969

Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
Hendricks17244315
Clark12985191
Madison12673339
Vigo12449247
LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
Delaware10696186
Howard9924216
Kosciusko9410117
Hancock8284141
Bartholomew8070156
Warrick7784155
Floyd7669178
Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
Henry5720103
Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
Gibson435492
DeKalb428485
Clinton427453
Montgomery424189
Whitley396139
Huntington391980
Steuben387857
Miami381866
Knox371990
Jasper366047
Putnam360760
Wabash354179
Adams341354
Ripley339770
Jefferson330981
White314354
Daviess297399
Wells291581
Decatur285492
Fayette280762
Greene278985
Posey271533
LaGrange266770
Scott266354
Clay260247
Randolph240781
Washington240732
Spencer232131
Jennings230149
Starke216654
Fountain212346
Sullivan211942
Owen200256
Fulton195440
Jay195130
Carroll189320
Orange183654
Perry183037
Rush173425
Vermillion169143
Franklin168135
Tipton162845
Parke146316
Blackford134932
Pike134334
Pulaski116845
Newton107834
Brown102141
Crawford99814
Benton98614
Martin89115
Warren82115
Switzerland7918
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0416

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events