Monday, August 15, 2011

Question: If Greenland's ice has been thinning so fast since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, why were World War II-era planes found buried under 260 feet of ice in 1988?

PhotoBlog - Scientists study thinning of Greenland ice sheet
AP's Brennan Linsley did a nice job capturing the spectacular beauty of Greenland's Ice.
1988:  World War II Planes Found in Greenland In Ice 260 Feet Deep - New York Times
Six American fighter planes and two bombers that crash-landed in Greenland in World War II have been found 46 years later buried under 260 feet of ice, searchers said today.
CD410: Airplanes Buried in Ice
Ice cores are claimed to have as many as 135,000 annual layers. Yet airplanes of the Lost Squadron were buried under 263 feet of ice in forty-eight years, or about 5.5 feet per year. This contradicts the presumption that the wafer-thin layers in the ice cores could be annual layers.

3 comments: said...

The ice moves, so the movement of the planes is not conclusive. You don't know the difference in height of the ice, which is what matters.

kwik said...

Well Tom, that is explained in every physics class on this planet. Or so I believed. Try yourself to put a heavy metal object on a piece of ice. Because of the weight, the pressure under the object increase. Increased pressure heightens the temperature.So you get a melting zone under the object.It digs itself downwards. It goes pretty quick. As I said, I allways believed this was common knowledge.

Unknown said...

These are 'aircraft' not point weights. The pressure that they would exert on ice is very small (force * area) due to their wings certainly not enough to melt the ice already many degrees below zero. They were buried in snow that packed into the fern.