NASA scientist stumped by Arctic ice circles

  • 24/04/2018
Ice circles captured by John Sontagg
Ice circles captured by John Sontagg Photo credit: NASA


NASA scientists have been stumped by a random pattern of holes in the Arctic sea ice.

NASA has been studying the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the earth to try and understand the world's ever-changing climate systems and the effects of global warming. 

The name given for this mission: Operation IceBridge. 

A six-month survey of the hemispheres utilised cutting-edge technology: NASA satellites, plane-based lidars (a surveying method which pulses light and measure reflecting pulses) and laser altimeters. 

With all this technology, the world's leading scientific minds still couldn't come up with a reason behind three paisley-shaped holes in the ice surface. 

IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag, the photographer of the phenom, wrote, "I don't recall seeing this sort of thing elsewhere."

Unhelpful, John. 

Mr Sontagg took the photograph from a p-3 research plane, flying over the Beaufort Sea, on April 14. The area had been unexplored since 2013. 

NASA published the photo as part of their monthly 'puzzler', a contest open to the public to discuss mysterious occurrences. 

Suggestions ranged from the holes being possible remnants of meteorites to gnawed through by seals to allow them to resurface for air breaks. 

Global warming has also been blamed for the amoeba-like patterns. 

Operation IceBridge has provided many answers to mysteries about the earth - this one, however, remains unanswered.