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May 2018
Answer: The image above shows curious holes in Arctic sea ice, located
April 2018
about 50 miles northwest of Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta. Guesses
March 2018
from readers included everything from ice broken by marine animals to
February 2018
breathe, to ice that had been thawed by methane hydrates. It’s a
January 2018
challenge to know the source of the features based on a photograph or December 2017
satellite image alone, but several scientists offered their hypotheses in November 2017
our April 21 Image of the Day. October 2017
September 2017
Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite or aerial August 2017
image of Earth. The April 2018 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to July 2017
use the comments section to tell us what we are looking at and why June 2017
this place is interesting. May 2017
April 2017
How to answer. You can use a few words or several paragraphs. You March 2017
might simply tell us the location. Or you can dig deeper and explain what February 2017
mission produced the image, what instrument was used to create it, or January 2017
what is compelling about some obscure feature in the image. If you think December 2016
something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it. November 2016
October 2016
The prize. We can’t offer prize money or a trip to Mars, but we can September 2016
promise you credit and glory. Well, maybe just credit. Roughly one week August 2016

after a puzzler image appears on this blog, we will post an annotated and July 2016
June 2016
captioned version as our Image of the Day. After we post the answer, we
May 2016
will acknowledge the first person to correctly identify the image at the
April 2016
bottom of this blog post. We also may recognize readers who offer the
March 2016
most interesting tidbits of information about the geological,
February 2016
meteorological, or human processes that have shaped the landscape.
January 2016
Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you
December 2015
work for or attend an institution that you would like to recognize, please
November 2015
mention that as well. October 2015
September 2015
Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the past few months or if August 2015
you work in geospatial imaging, please hold your answer for at least a July 2015
day to give less experienced readers a chance to play. June 2015
May 2015
Releasing Comments. Savvy readers have solved some puzzlers after a April 2015
few minutes. To give more people a chance to play, we may wait between March 2015

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24 to 48 hours before posting comments. February 2015
January 2015
Good luck! December 2014
November 2014
Tags: puzzler October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 at 11:41 am and is filed under EO's
July 2014
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June 2014
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May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
261 Responses to “April 2018 Puzzler” February 2014
January 2014
Bryan Dann says: December 2013
April 17, 2018 at 8:44 pm
November 2013
Thermo image of fires in Oklahoma October 2013
September 2013

Reply August 2013

July 2013
Chris R says: June 2013
April 23, 2018 at 11:33 pm
May 2013
What has happened here is a small hole, due to the gradual warming of a ever April 2013
thinning sheet of ice floating on the surface of the ocean, has appeared.
March 2013
The weight of the sheet of ice has caused pressurization of the ocean water as it
relates to the hole in the ice. This Force causes the water to come up through the February 2013
hole in the thinning ice. As this pressurized portion of water refreezes it creates a January 2013
small circular mound of ice that resembles a volcano. This water then refreezes, as December 2012
it does so Vapors are carried from the wind Laden with water. The wind moving
November 2012
around this appraised orifice of water will create a high and low pressure Zone.
This pressure Zone would resemble a hurricane or similar to the effects of air October 2012
moving over a plane wing. We are witnessing in this image the refreezing of the September 2012
circulating air currents. August 2012
July 2012
Reply June 2012
May 2012
Poul Møller says:
April 24, 2018 at 9:38 am
April 2012
March 2012
It is probably the Greenland whale that has broken the ice and the other animals maintain
the hole. February 2012
January 2012
November 2011
October 2011
Geeta says: September 2011
April 24, 2018 at 6:55 pm
August 2011
Air/pressure vents as seen under the sea.
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011

Michael Fieldman says:

April 25, 2018 at 10:44 am RSS
Entries (RSS)
Perhaps it is a result of some foreign submarine, Russian or Chinese, probing the ice
shelf for possible future penetration on a larger scale, to launch an attack on the North Comments (RSS)
American continent, or to threaten the West with a technology that has yet to be
developed by the West. It could also be an investigation by these two technologically
advanced nations to explore the advent of a future Northwest passage through the ice
shelf as climate warms, and then claiming the territory as a sovereign passage for the
country that initiated it.

If there were tracks in the snow/ice, then possibly sea life could have taken advantage of
the openings, but there appears to be little evidence of such.

Perhaps Canada, or the USA, could travel under the ice shelf and investigate the visual
signs and markings of the penetrations from another viewpoint.


Yury says:
April 25, 2018 at 2:39 pm

I`m agree with this version.


Yury says:
April 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm

about circulating air currents.


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EricB says:
April 24, 2018 at 8:22 pm

How about this ? 3 surfacing submarines… right during ICEX2018



Brice Lamey says:

April 24, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Saw a YouTube video of ICEX 2018. One Los Angeles Class and two Sea Wolf class
fast attack subs surfacing for arctic exercises. Foot prints seem to match.?
The exercises were held in late March? Would large holes like that THNYrefreeze?
Our troops were properly dressed for the elements but it looked pretty nice out for
winter on the ice.


Collin Szewczyk says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:21 pm


Is space debris from a meteor or asteroid, or satellite breaking up a possibility? Are

there similar images to compare with? Just a thought.


Susanne Donoghue says:

April 25, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Subterranean volcanic activity as in Yellowstone or Iceland?


Walter says:
April 25, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Have meteorites Been put out of the equation


Scott Stensland says:

April 17, 2018 at 9:39 pm

Open water holes in the ice maintained by ocean mammals so they can
breathe … whales, walrus, seals etc..


Bo says:
April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Scott, You got it! The Big round holes with waves around them are the result of
whales goi g through the thinner ice and smashing down. Maybe large seals as well.
Semi circle would be where they did hit with as much force or on an angle.


Dave says:
April 24, 2018 at 11:11 am

I agree. Large animals would be the first thing I look into. A small pod of whales
maintaining easy breathing areas where they feed.


Michael Benning says:

April 18, 2018 at 2:26 am

To me the image looks like it shows warmer spots, what leads to the
conclusion to volcanic activities under ice covered areas, maybe. Greetings
from Germany and keep up the good work . yours MB


Jeanie says:
April 23, 2018 at 9:31 pm

I agree with the volcanic activity theory.. with all the other activity going on and
giant cracks popping up in different places it seems logical and very possible.. I’d
like to see them send someone to investigate it further to know for sure what is
really going on..

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G. Blaine Liddick says:

April 24, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Geothermal Vents. Simply an underwater geyser. Look at the melt pattern and you will
see the plumes formed by the rising warm water.
Can’t say it any simpler than that. We have geysers and thermal vents all over the world.
Silly to think they wouldn’t be on our southernmost continent…
They kind of remind me of the photos of volcanic plumes on some of the gas giant
Please tell me that infrared cameras were available for use during this flyby. Would be
your telling clue.

Best of luck to the person(s) that are intrepid enough to find out.


Mason Harris says:

April 18, 2018 at 11:29 am

Surface of Mars, in Infrared spectrum showing possible flow patterns in

surface soil, possibly indicating water.


Terry Badger says:

April 18, 2018 at 11:41 am

Terry Badger Where meteorites fell on/busted ice formations.


Rob Loefstedt says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Concur….. meteorite break up ….. impacted…. melted surrounding ice with kinetic
impact/heat….. metlted water refroze around “crater” with different visual


Rob Loefstedt says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Or perhaps Narwhal target practice…. pinning up bullseyes on the underside of the ice.


Don A Druse says:

April 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm



Joe says:
April 23, 2018 at 4:36 pm

That was my first thought assuming the ice was too thick for a mammal to break
through. But my high school Geometry teacher taught me what happens when you
assume things. ass-u-me


Macarena says:
April 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

I think this was taken in the Arctic, on very thin sea ice or nilas. You can
clearly see the rafting, and evidence of ridges on the left hand side. I think
those holes are from seals. This may have been taken from the Icebridge
2018 campaign.


Macarena says:
April 18, 2018 at 11:48 am

*right-hand side


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miska knapek says:

April 18, 2018 at 11:50 am

Geiser in something like Iceland?


Himanshu Mahendrabhai Solanki says:

April 18, 2018 at 11:56 am

Scars of dried river or sea. Looks like from mars.


Kathy Benison says:

April 18, 2018 at 12:07 pm

This looks like a saline pan surface and the little pools look like localized
pools that are the result of karst.


Ivan Kordač says:

April 19, 2018 at 4:05 am

I dont know where it is, it looks like snowy or icy crust on water in winter or
crus of salt on lake of salt water after rainy days(near Salt Lake City? or Death
Walley?) Who knows… 🙂


Malcolm says:
April 19, 2018 at 6:32 am

This is a picture of salt lakes. The small dark spots are the lowest points,
where there is still some water.


Daniel says:
April 20, 2018 at 4:11 am

I think it is satellite imagry of atolls with the water removed.


michael says:
April 20, 2018 at 6:49 am

I think these images are remnants of meteorites. As we cant tell the size in
area of this picture I would guess that its something thats come from outer


Jan Paternoster says:

April 24, 2018 at 6:21 am

I think also in the direction of an impact/ crash from object (chinese satelite or
outher space


Mar says:
April 21, 2018 at 11:45 am

Sealions or seals do those holes.


Jose O Delgado says:

April 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Looks like a salt lake.


Len Vaness says:

April 21, 2018 at 3:07 pm

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Ra says:
April 22, 2018 at 6:59 am

Dead Sea


Mike Beck says:

April 23, 2018 at 7:34 am

Late to the puzzler, but what do thawing methane hydrates releases

underneath newly formed sea ice look like?


Justin Schuman says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Yes, I’d like to know why this can’t be methane related.


Peter Glaser says:

April 24, 2018 at 6:20 am

…or a methane vent. Did they mention the depth?


David Diel says:

April 23, 2018 at 11:20 am

Somebody should check out the coordinates and see if these three
submarines are responsible.



Brice Lamey says:

April 24, 2018 at 10:24 pm

I think your spot on Sir.


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:34 am

I think something that mass would crack the surface like a huge fault line


Antonio says:
April 23, 2018 at 11:36 am

I agree with Michael that these look like impacts of meteorite fragments that
came at low velocity. The heat of the fragment caused additional melting at


Marty McKimmey says:

April 23, 2018 at 11:48 am

This is probably too late but I have a couple suggestions/questions that may
shed some light on the imagery. The darkest spot within each feature appears
to be a shadow, not a hole. This would indicate a peak to the SW of each dark
spot. The shadow patterns on the ripples support this assumption. The
question would then be why was there an uplift of a small sheet of ice? Why
not an entire line of uplift as in a mass convergent of ice sheets. I have no
suggestions for the mechanics that would tilt such small blocs. A scale
reference would be nice.

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As to the irregular surrounding area of each hole, well these appear to be
darker with a ridge marking the exterior boundary. A high resolution LIDAR
would help as it might indicate a depression within the boundaries/barriers.
These could similar to a sink. Again, I have no suggestion as to the mechanics
of the feature, just the visual nature. The ridge/barrier defining the area
might pose issues for the seal theory.


Bubblehead says:
April 23, 2018 at 11:51 am

The three submarines that surfaced together In late March as part of ICEX
2018. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9mDlNBU4-z0


Felicia says:
April 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Holes caused by methane bubbles, similar to ones in the melting Russian



Mark Kurtis says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:14 pm

I had not seen your guess but mine is the same as yours. Methane rising brings
with it warmer waters from the ocean floor.


Steve says:
April 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm

We don’t have context for the size of the holes, but I believe it’s simply the
results of a submarine practicing a well known maneuver to surface through
thinner ice.. Most likely a US or Russian sub. You can go on YouTube and find
many videos of this. The result is water breaching further out on the ice and
then refreezing.


Robert Nichols says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:07 pm

After looking at the surrounding area, it appears that a single meteor possibly
exploded at low altitude causing what appear to be multiple impacts at
varying trajectories.


Robert Nichols says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:14 pm

I will add that if the unusual features spread further than the given frame, that the
separation occurred at a higher altitude than previously thought.


Naren says:
April 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm

These probably are caused by the escape of METHANE preserves under the ice
shelf. A similar effect is being seen in Siberia and is probably going to be a
worldwide phenomenon under each and every ice cap and glacier. The next
step would be to sample the ice around or the gaseous emissions from the
holes to test this theory.


K.Thompson says:
April 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm

If this is Antarctica, it appears to have some symmetry from each ‘hole’. As if

something was poking up, like steeples on churches. There are 3 more ‘holes’
appearing, and the distance, between them are similar. Perhaps a drone fly by
or low plane, might shed more light on this.


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Marie Crawford says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:40 pm

I believe there are warm spots coming from a volcano.


Dewey says:
April 23, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Holes are in thin ice located over thermal vents on ocean bottom.


skimmer says:
April 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

if in the Arctic, could be methane release vents, notice 4 not yet opened spots
with similar developing pattern


Anshuman Goel says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Artic is breathing some air.


Steve says:
April 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm

The pictures remind me of certain features of the Channeled Scablands in

eastern Washington. Namely bore holes created by swirling water. Likely some
moving water beneath those holes. There are glaciers in Iceland that have
holes from geothermal heat waves caused by volcanic activity.


Alex Garcia says:

April 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm

I believe these are caused by hydro-thermal vents on the ocean floor.


S.K. Vinod says:

April 23, 2018 at 4:24 pm

These appear to be holes created by large emissions of methane gas from the
bottom of the ocean, the result of global warming.


Gibson D Elliot says:

April 23, 2018 at 4:27 pm

These look like the holes left behind when a submarine surfaces and stays
stationed a while melting the ice around it. The peripheral cracks are from the
force lifting the ice before the con tower breaks through. That is my guess
without measurement info.


Frank Richardson says:

April 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Obviously the three submarines that punched through the ice as part of
operation ICEX 2018. Here’s video of all three submarines at the surface at
the same time. Note how the conning towers forms an elliptical shape that is
sharp at one end:


John says:
April 23, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Frank Richardson
Operation ICEX 2018 was in the Beaufort Sea but I haven’t seen proof that the holes
in the April 14 photo were made by those 3 submarines that surfaced March 21,

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although you’ve got the best answer I’ve read, anyway thanks for posting that
interesting video .


mike says:
April 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Hot gas bubbles released from ocean floor.


Jonathan Joy says:

April 23, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Ringed seal lair.


Tim Gerlitz says:

April 23, 2018 at 4:47 pm

This is easy. I climbed Mt. Rainier some years ago and at the crater rim, steam
was actively escaping from seismic activity in the mountain and created small
“steam craters” like this. Case solved! :0)


Patrick pittman says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Might be ch4 punching through ice. The Yamal craters come to mind as does
Dr Natalia Shakovas research on east Siberian shelf. Might want to put
sensors for ch4 on plane.


Kane Ekeland says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:05 pm

The most likely things that come to mind would be shifting in the Earths’
crust under the ice causing new areas for volcanic activity in the area, thus
melting the ice. Or (bit of a scarier thought) a localized weakening of our
upper atmosphere caused by shifting geomagnetic fields, that allowed more
solar radiation to break through in those particular spots.


Jennifer Witthuhn says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Space junk that landed safely.


Ole says:
April 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm

It’s a river with moving water which makes the ice go up and down.
Ice that goes up and down on a surface of water creates pressure.
Water pressure creates pressure releaving holes in thin/soft ice.

Best regards from icey Norway.


Lloyd Brannan says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:30 pm

There looks to be the remnants of 3 holes that are above the holes in the
picture that are in the exact same pattern. I don’t know if the ice sheet is
moving but I would guess they are volcanic in nature. With these holes being
formed like volcanic islands are. So I would assume there is a volcanic event
below the ice.


Christopher Cantore says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:33 pm

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All else being equal, the simplest explanation…. I suspect this is liquid water
on top of the ice which has broken through and melted the holes at these
spots. In daytime when the top ice melts, it forms a river and goes downhill,
exploiting any flaw in the ice that allows flow downward. The liquid probably
freezes at night, so the variable temperature has caused what appear to be
indentations with the water flowing and rippling around the two larger holes,
and there is another forming hole in the lower left. Hard to tell scale or what
is under the ice sheet, it might be ground or the ocean.


Santiago Pineiro says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:50 pm

I think these three holes were probably caused by the US and UK submarine
Ice Exercises that occurred in March 2018. The USS Hartford, USS Connecticut,
and HMS Trenchant were present in the exercise, and all three of them
surfaced close to each other, causing their forward fins (top part) to break the
ice sheet and cause these holes!


Craig Bode says:

April 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Simple, it’s from a Russian submarine practicing to rise through the ice at
about the same spot.


Jim MacDonald says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm

These appear to me as what would be left over after a submarine has

completed an ice breach.

see https://www.google.com/search?

as an example.


Aron N says:
April 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

I have looked at the picture. I have read over the other suggestions. My
opinion is as others have writen, but with a little bit of explanation added.
The posible reason for the holes are air/gas pockets under ice added with ice
flexing and the pull of the moons effect on oceans tides. The constant water
flow widens the holes and even overflows onto the surrounding area. The
dark areas to the left may have been older breach holes that have closed up.
These holes may have also started where cracks in the ice were…the flow of
water going up and down opened them up more. Lets hope its nothing major
Earth just had to fart and open her pores abit.


Matt Watkins says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Can they be biologic or biologically related? I don’t know the animals that live
in the area, but if a whale were to die under the ice–would their body float
enough to rupture the thin ice, enough residual body heat to melt a hole or
thin spot, and/or enough light coming through that creates a warm spot on a
black body and accelerates a hole?


Le Le says:
April 23, 2018 at 6:13 pm

These holes are the results of meteorites. The meteorites could have hit the
ice surface with enough force to punch through and make these holes. And in
the event that they did not pack enough energy to poke through, the dark
rocks may have absorbed enough sun light and warmed up sufficiently to
melt the ice around and under them.
There! What do I win?


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Ben says:
April 23, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Especially thin sections of ice where the water pressure underneath punctures
a small hole, gradually opens with ongoing downward pressure from the ice
and upward pressure from the water. I’ll bet there are even small
geysers/sprays that cause the built-up sections around the holes as the water
droplets refreshes and build-up upon falling back to the ground.


Ben says:
April 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Not refreshes, refreezes. (Autocorrect)


Kevin Click says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:31 pm

You see a similar feature on some glaciers, albeit on a smaller scale. Dark
rocks are heated by the sun during the day, holding heat and helping melt the
ice around the edges. Some even spin a bit when the melted water, in
conjunction with other factors (wind, gravity, shifting ice), helps shift the


Matt says:
April 23, 2018 at 6:42 pm

The rapid or gradual release of methane clathrates due to an increase in the

ocean temperature. The holes have been created by something coming up
from the ocean, as evidenced by the raised inner and outer circles that have
accumulated blown ice and snow. There are two scenarios.

The radius of the outer circle suggests that significant force was behind the
initial release (i.e. enough pressure to blow water and ice a significant
distance), and the dark colour suggests that the water jetted into the air upon
the release has resettled and frozen on the surface. The patterns would then
have to be explained by local wind patterns.

Alternatively, the pressure could have resulted in a slow leak pushing ocean
water up through the ice – where the shape of the outer ‘rings’ would be
determined by the contours of the ice. In the top two holes you can see the
raised dome downhill (or downwind) of the holes, produced as the pressure
decreased and the water being pushed up froze closer to the hole.

In either case, the holes themselves would have been generated when the
pressure from underneath stopped and the structurally compromised ice
collapsed into the ocean.

I assume the seafloor underneath the ice has been mapped and would show
any hydrothermal vents are too far below the surface.


Dave LaGuire says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:48 pm

The holes are produced by melt-water (or rain) on the surface finding a crack
and migrating downward, gradually enlarging the crack into a hole. The trails
leading to the holes are the last of the drainage.


Andy Rooke says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:54 pm

It is not clear from the photo whether the dark areas within each “circle” are
land masses or open water, but in either case, sunlight would heat the area
more than the lighter ice areas around them. This could result in thinner ice,
which would be more susceptible to stress cracks from
movement/expansion/contraction of the surrounding ice sheet. As such, I
wonder if these “circular” areas are fractured ice zones, which could also
explain the ridges of taller ice around the perimeters.


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Ted Munda says:

April 23, 2018 at 6:57 pm

The holes all seem to be very natural and organic looking; reminds me of
what an animal burrow would look like if it were in the snow. These holes and
the holes in Siberia have some connection. If you put cameras on them I
would guess you would eventually see something going in and out of the
entrance, seriously. Life is everywhere.


Bill Hall says:

April 23, 2018 at 7:18 pm

I believe these are breaks in the ice are caused by Whales that are passing
under the ice sheet and breaking through in an effort to locate air to breath.
They appear in multiply formations due to the whales traveling in pods or
family groups. The individual circles expand due to the motion of the whale
which creates rippling effects much like a stone tossed into a pond.

Hope this helps!



Le Le says:
April 23, 2018 at 7:22 pm

The immediate area around the holes was once open water (probably formed
by an up swell of warmer water), and now it is in the process of being iced
over with surface air temperature below freezing. The holes are vent holes
allowing the still warmer water to flow up. The “rings” around the holes are
the “bowls” containing the vented warmer water. The lines radiating from the
“rings” are artifacts of warmer water overflowing the rims of the bowls,
carving wiggling lines going away.
There! What do I win?


stbdab says:
April 23, 2018 at 7:27 pm

future volcanic explosion, possibly the birth of a new island……could have

catastrphic results for example water displacement resulting in large wave


Nick Hasson says:

April 23, 2018 at 7:40 pm

This is most likely caused by methane ebullation from shallow methane gas
hydrates as also witnessed on the east Siberian shelf (also only 50m depth). I
currently investigate this phenomenon and area of interest. PM for more
information. Here are a few references.






Y.T. says:
April 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Those holes are likely created naturally due to the differential concentration /
distribution of salt on the surface of the ice. Also, micro-topography on the
ice sheet might allow further accumulation (/flow) of salty ice dust (/water) in
pockets of lower elevation (/when the temperature does get closer to melting
point). Just an educated guess… (Also posted on the Washington Post article.)


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Larry M says:
April 23, 2018 at 8:04 pm

Frozen methane pockets are melting. Uplifting from the methane slurry
causes tgese holes.


David Hogg says:

April 23, 2018 at 8:07 pm

May be left by objects/debris with a low albedo that were lying on the ice
surface. This is often seen on frozen Canadian lake, when a leaf is blown onto
the surface; it slowly melts a leaf-shaped hole (for instance, see:

Which begs the question: what is the offending object? I have no clue. As
others have noted, an on-site examination is critical.


ron fucci says:

April 23, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Arctic mudpots


Rudi says:
April 23, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Impact craters of Tiangong-1 satellite and debris.


Nazir says:
April 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm

The pattern looks like Gog and Magog ears. Is this a sign for humanity? Are
they punching thru that hole?


Alex Chavera says:

April 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Submarines breaking ice


Howard W. says:
April 23, 2018 at 8:50 pm

In Amundsen’s journal during his race to the South Pole, he wrote “The ugliest
formations that we have found here are huge holes that would take Fram and
a lot more besides… . These holes are covered by a thin wind crust, and the
little hole that is visible doesn’t seem so difficult. But if one gets into such a
delightful spot, one is irrevocably lost.” (via The “Last Place on Earth”, by
Roland Huntford)


WhoCaresAbout MyName says:

April 23, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Russian submarines launching their new missiles from under the ice.


Jagadeesan says:
April 23, 2018 at 9:14 pm

That can be a dead dolphin/ shark/whale….


Joe Corkery says:

April 23, 2018 at 9:19 pm

I agree with Marty McKimmey that a scale would be useful.

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If there were a source of pressure fluctuations under the ice and if the ice
froze not quite evenly seawater might break through the thinnest, weakest
ice. As the area of the openings shrinks the water might be funneled more
forcefully through the existing holes thereby keeping them open while the
rest of the surrounding surface continues to freeze.

The pressure fluctuations might result from swells from nearby open ocean,
or perhaps there is a sea floor feature that redirects a prevailing current or a
MacKenzie river current upward toward this area. Turbulent flow in this
current might produce the fluctuations.


Stephen Miller says:

April 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Melting pools that were eventually able to drain down through the ice before
a somewhat light snowfall.


Eric Pittelkau says:

April 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Why not holes punched by meteorites? They fall all the time to the ground but
mostly water (70% of earth is water). What’s not said about the image is the
scale? How big are these holes?


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:32 am

Those are big holes… unless they were some bad ass melting acid metal diamond
meteors that just cut straight throughout like butter with a plasma be a m


Geoff Hiatt says:

April 23, 2018 at 9:56 pm

The black spots are the points where accumulated surface meltwater drained
through the ice into the ocean. The spots could have been caused by
underwater thermal vents, warmer currents, or rocks either on top of the ice
or just below it that absorbed sunlight, causing faster melting in that area, or
simply have been where the water began to drain first, which then widened
the hole. The waves in the center-left are the remains of a much larger
meltwater pool, the surface of which re-froze during windy conditions before
the entire pool drained through the hole to the right.


Dawson says:
April 23, 2018 at 9:58 pm

It’s natural gas bubbling up from below.


Donald K. Ljungblad says:

April 23, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Obviously Bowhead Whale blowholes as seen by me during my 14 years of

arctic research.


Sean Singh says:

April 23, 2018 at 10:22 pm

I think its possibly some sort of bacteria which was dormant forever, but
temperatures rose just enough for it to start breaking down whatever is in the
permafrost. The slow nature of it is why the holes are oblong, whereas a
sudden gas release would be more circular. Still probably producing methane
because it’s a low oxygen environment.


Holly Madurski says:

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April 23, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Methane release??


Giles says:
April 23, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Submarine hole from breaking through ice. One side is flat and the other side
is curved which is similar to the top part of submarine. Looks like large area
of ice around hole is raised up due to pressure of sub breaking through ice.


Roger Golden says:

April 23, 2018 at 10:37 pm

This seems to be an embarrassingly obvious mystery. Small ponds of liquid

water formed on the surface of the ice, and then the sun’s rays were
magnified by the thin layer of water, effectively heat-drilling down into the ice
while causing the surface pond to grow due to a growing body of heated
water. The noted “thin ice” is partially responsible as well, since thicker ice
would prevent the heat-drilling from penetrating the ice layer if it were too
thick..the water in the hole would simply refreeze over the colder, frozen

That’s it. No aliens or anything mysterious at all, just elementary school

physics at its best. Anyone can test the idea presented here using a pie pan,
some water, a freezer, a magnifying glass, and a sunny day. It’s really simple.


Nick kennedy says:

April 23, 2018 at 10:55 pm

I think it’s the result of a meteor shards that came down and did not totally
burn up in the atmosphere and hit the ice. And as a result of it being hot
melted its way through the Ice and into the ocean below


Nicholas Kennedy says:

April 23, 2018 at 11:00 pm

I think it’s the result of a meteor shards that came down and did not totally
burn up in the atmosphere and hit the ice. And as a result of it being hot
melted its way through the Ice and into the ocean below


alden moffatt says:

April 23, 2018 at 11:32 pm

Waves hitting undersea mound surging through holes punched by the rocks
at low tide. Unique because waves in the arctic are caused by melting sea ice


Andy D. says:
April 23, 2018 at 11:42 pm

Why do you think they are holes?

Perhaps they are remainder ridges from local melting,. Perhaps started as
high points or slight domes in the surface topo that melted differentially.
Wind would do it too- is it laminar or consistant wind direction? This would
explain why they are rectangular as well. Desert Stuff.

Anway, I turned the image upside down and they look like ridges.


Jeff Sederstrom says:

April 23, 2018 at 11:43 pm

Agreeing with the methane guesses, but possibly released from the back of a
marine critter.


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Andy D says:
April 23, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Are you sure they are holes? They look like ridges when yoj invert the photo.
A common illusion either way.


Karen K says:
April 24, 2018 at 12:56 am

Methane bubbles breaking through the surface.


Howard Chizeck says:

April 24, 2018 at 1:43 am

Look like gas hydrate pingoes


Scrushmaster says:
April 24, 2018 at 2:30 am

These are nuclear powered missiles Russia dumped after failure. The fissile
material will heat the area for many months.


Yuzo Toya says:

April 24, 2018 at 2:44 am

I see some remnants of water pooling and concentric fringes around the
openings. I also see patches or domains of wrinkled ice sheet, dominantly
oriented in 10 o’clock – 4 o’clock directions (particularly prominent to the
north-west side of the two holes in the center). The wrinkles on the ice sheet
suggest the weakness or thin-thickness of the ice sheet there. Holes appear
on the edges of the discernible ice-sheet domains, where the color is
commonly darker than the surroundings, and where the ice is likely thinner.

Those holes were possibly created around the depressions or lower elevation
surfaces in the micro-topography on the ice sheet. Ice sheet around the lower
elevation surfaces would be slightly thinner than the higher elevation parts
(assuming its isostatic state). Lower surfaces on ice would also help
accumulate (salty) water above, and might contribute to further thinning of
the ice. The melting temperature of a brine would be lower than that of the
fresh water. Once the ice is thin enough, openings may naturally form when
the temperature is closer to 32F(0C) or by marine mammals.


Yuzo Toya says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Additional thoughts:
“Gas (or some lighter substances)” could accumulate in oval-shaped pockets
beneath the ice sheet, where the ice is particularly thin, which could somehow
contribute to the localized thinning of the ice there also. “Gas” could come from
underwater marine mammals (such as whales) as bubbles of carbon dioxide or
methane, or from (buoyant) methane hydrates.

Mapping the distribution of chemical properties of the ice, water, and gas contents
(incl. their salinity) above and below the sea ice and the ice thickness across the
concentric feature(s), by sending a geo-referenced, audio-visual recording capable
probe or by means of remote sensing…


Shawn Dahle says:

April 24, 2018 at 3:45 am

I think these are most likely breathing holes created by marine mammals by
punching up through the thin ice with their heads. Water would also be
pushed up through the hole and create the “melt pools” around each hole,
which would eventually refreeze and create slight ridging along the edges. It’s
difficult to say which mammal created such holes without knowing the
size/scale of the photo, but likely candidates in that area would be bowhead
whales or beluga if the holes are relatively large, or walrus or bearded seals if
smaller. I’ve seen many similar holes in sea ice in the Bering Sea, especially in

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areas with high densities of walrus or bearded seals. Ringed seals are also
well known for their ability to maintain holes in sea ice throughout winter;
however their holes are typically very circular in shape. These holes’ oval
shape leads me to believe they were created by whales rather than seals.


Tom Schneck says:

April 24, 2018 at 4:12 am

Clouds are acting as lenses to focus sunlight onto ice to melt holes.


Borys Diakonow says:

April 24, 2018 at 4:22 am

Caused by a type of sporadic hydrothermal vent, eventually to be frozen over?



George DeSerres says:

April 24, 2018 at 4:27 am

Metor strikes.


Girish says:
April 24, 2018 at 4:40 am

Appears like kind of cluster of sinkholes formation – I may call it a i-cink holes


Xtreme says:
April 24, 2018 at 4:59 am

Predator’s proving grounds


Oyvind says:
April 24, 2018 at 5:00 am

Looks like an oblique meteorite impact? A meteorite has broken up into small
pieces that hit the ice at a low angle. The craters seem to have similar ejecta


Olav Finden says:

April 24, 2018 at 5:53 am

I fully agree with those who says these holes are made from meteorite
impacts. It is most probably something that has come in from outer space.


GG says:
April 24, 2018 at 6:12 am

I agree on meteorites. The impact looks like it came from above not below.


Tom Snedal says:

April 24, 2018 at 6:15 am

It looks to me like holes made by submarines surfacing through the ice.

Judging from the appearance of the surrounding ice, it seems likely that the
ice is not very thick. The “rings” around the holes would typically stem from
vaves/movement of the ice during the surfacing.


Trond Johansen says:

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April 24, 2018 at 6:21 am

These holes in the ice are most likely a gas bubble, gas from the seabed.


Tomasz says:
April 24, 2018 at 6:34 am

this holes are such kind of karst hole made by geothermal source of hot water
which is under the ice.


Jos says:
April 24, 2018 at 7:15 am

Looking that the small holes are part of a larger hole it can only mean theres
a gass or heat sourche at this spot. There is a hole that has been freezing and
has a large stripe going right.


Tracey Roberts says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:18 am

They are the result of escaped warming (formerly frozen) methane gases.


Emil Berthelsen says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:35 am

will guess it’s underwater geysers that emit hot water or gases. 🙂


Johan Kristensen says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:39 am

Meteorite crash site…


Henrik Jeppsson says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:43 am

Meteor strikes? A small cluster hit the ice.


Kenneth says:
April 24, 2018 at 7:44 am

Looks like water erosion to me. Water flowing on top of the ice erodes the ice
until a hole forms. The water drains though the holes an creates the sink like


Henrik Kaas says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:46 am



Jens Flebo-Hansen says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:50 am

It could also nr the result from a meteor impact?


Ingrid hansen says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:53 am

Whales! There have been caught, you can see lines / roads in the circular
shape that may indicate that they have pushed their way through the softer
ice! . so they can swim through the narrow road through the ice that has been
forming, to get free from the ice so they can breathe and get space ect !

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Michael Joergensen says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:13 am

Submarines. No reason to make problems larger or more complicated, than

they are 🙂


Dan P says:
April 24, 2018 at 8:17 am

I agree with breathing holes. Note the darker color of the ice in the section
with the holes. This looks like a fissure between two ice masses – like a river
of thinner ice between them. Marine mammals searching for air would have
better luck with thinner ice.


Dan Hansen says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:25 am

ALIENS!!!!! First it was crop-circles, now; wave-circles, lol


Helle Ravn Sørensen says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:27 am

The holes could be caused by debris from sattelites or other debri from
space. It would have been heated from entering the atmosphere and cause
holes in the ice as well as heating of the surrounding ice.


Robbert Vlagsma says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:42 am

I see several dark areas with a lighter edge. Dark = thinner, light = thicker ice?
In some dark areas I see another smaller dark area with lighter edge. And
again within these areas there is in some cases another smaller dark area with
lighter edge. So I suppose these were (are) holes in the ice that froze in
several stages. Some of them are already frozen completely. The longitudinal
axis of the inner smallest dark areas differ in most cases from the biggest
outer ones. Something to do with changing wind direction?


Nelson Oles says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:51 am

Could this be a rare hydrothermal vent causing these to be created?


Cesar Cestero MD says:

April 24, 2018 at 9:10 am

Those are Geysers! I see very defined orifices surrounded by a large

watershed pattern. If there was a Geyser there I think this is exactly how it
would look like after fairly recent activity.


Radosław Węgrzyn says:

April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

Meteorite or parts of some local object (satellite or something). Location next

to each other suggests that are a parts of one object. Rings around holes are
effect of impact, depends from size of object (bigger hole – bigger ring). Deep
holes in ice from impact and high temperature of objects which burned in


Alejandro CRUZ says:

April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

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They’re ice sinkholes caused by warmed water beneath the surface eroding &
melting away the surface layers.


Win Wright says:

April 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

When water is warmed, carbon dioxide solubility decreases, releasing CO2

gas, which gets trapped under the ice, which then must escape through ice
fissures, thus creating gas-vent holes.


Howard Johnson says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:15 am

These holes are caused by hot water being vented from the bottom of the
artic ocean.


John Reasor says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:17 am

It is possible this was military exercise of a large sub penetrating the ice sheet


Pam Logan says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:20 am

The holes are caused by underground hot spring waters rising through the
cold ocean and melting the ice from beneath.


Ken Ward says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:23 am

My assessment of what could produce these black spots with rings in this
area (50 miles northwest of Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta – from you
answer) are (1) rocks sitting on the tips of undersea mounds in this shallow
area poking through the ocean surface (tiny islands) heated by the sun, (2) a
small tide, (3) slow freezing from a cold weather spell, and, (4) slow
movement of the surrounding sea ice producing the “fingers” and the two
parallel shore lines”.


Brecht Debrouwere says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:31 am

I’m not sure, but this is my theory: von Karman streets.

At the location where this picture has been taken, the ice sheet is relatively
thin. At the same time there probably is an undersea mountain or hill of some
kind affecting the current of the lower lying, denser warmer water. The water
is therefore mixed in patterns of higher turbulence in a von Karman street,
and this creates this pattern, more concentrated melting at the first two
intense holes whilst the hole furthest away from the undersea hill is the
widest and least melted.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Arthur Marcellino says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

These holes are formed by a Russian submarines that use the thin ice for
meetings with other countries that they don’t want anyone to know about.
This place is interesting because the ice is thin enough for submarines to
surface through it quickly make transactions right across the ice sub to sub.
Then return to a safe depth in the water without endangering the sub.


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Robert Sieling says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:51 am

I’m NOT NASA but i Can se tracks from the thicker ICE. And out on the thinner
ice everywhere. So maybee you should ask the seals:-)


Praveen Verma says:

April 24, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Really it is interesting, i guess, soon you will see more holes in that particular
area as they are creating by naturally, and guessing of it is not much hard
because these hole are created by some kind of gas which is releasing from
under the ice, and it may be in little large quantity for making more bigger
hole, and wave and rafting are created by the pressure and temperature of
that gas. And yes surprisingly it is hot…….. !
Soon will write more about it…


Cameron Butler says:

April 24, 2018 at 12:32 pm

hot gas from deep in earth’s crust bubbling up and melting through the ice to
escape into the air


david says:
April 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Surface melt water finding it’s way through the ice, eventually draining
through to the water below. Arctic Ocean? These holes are called strudel.


Clo says:
April 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Remnants of submarine periscope holes?


Gordon R Hamel says:

April 24, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Great place to hide a nuclear attack submarine.


Spencer Alexander says:

April 24, 2018 at 1:37 pm

It could be from wales or others hunting “fish”. Imagine that a group or pod
or whatever are surrounding a large school and using bubbles to encircle
them. The rising bubbles come to the surface and cause holes or breakage in
the surface.


Eric Phillips says:

April 24, 2018 at 1:47 pm

This ‘phenomenon’ is actually part of a practical joke you play on polar bears.
You surround each of the holes with peas, and when a polar bear comes up to
take a pea you kick him in the ice-hole!


James says:
April 24, 2018 at 1:53 pm

They are boils formed by a mix of gas and water. Wish I knew what gas.
Maybe just air, maybe methane, maybe carbon dioxide maybe something I
haven’t considered. Mostly gas, not much water. Only one seems to have
overflowed the ice dam that formed around them.


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David says:
April 24, 2018 at 2:04 pm

BAE systems has unveiled a high-tech laser system that allows battlefield
commanders to observe enemy activities over much greater distances. The
system, developed by British defense company BAE systems, uses lasers to
temporarily change the Earth’s atmosphere into lens-like structures, to
magnify or change the path of electromagnetic waves such as light and radio
signals. This looks like a result of some experimentation of that. Imagine a
huge magnifying glass at an angle and the path it would take as the earth
slowly rotated.


Daniel Apted says:

April 24, 2018 at 2:09 pm

I live in Alaska. I have seen this same type of melting nearly every year. This
year it happened in my front yard just a few steps from my muddy driveway. It
also happened in my backyard. The reason for my front melt was that mud
splashed up from the driveway out onto the white unbroken sheet of snow
and ice which was only a couple of inches thick by this time in April. The mud
simply got warmer faster than the white snow and ice of the yard and melted
the ice around it faster than the unbroken white areas of the rest of the yard.
In my backyard, the issue was not the mud, but my dog Diamond who had
defecated in several areas. The darker defecation again got warm in the sun
and melted through to the darker ground below and the area appeared to
grow each day. It is just a matter of the sunlight being adsorbed and heating
dark things faster than it does white things. The most likely cause of the
holes you see on that ice sheet is animal defecation. This answers an age-old
Inupiaq puzzle. Where does a polar bear xxxx? (not a nice word for
defecation). The answer? Anywhere it wants to.


James Calvert says:

April 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm

OK. Here it goes…

The holes were created by pockets of trappped, warm air/ gas that was
previously under the ice for a very long time. The pockets warmed up and
found the path of least resistance— upward. The holes in the ice and the
‘drifts’ around them, seem to fit into a ‘Pangea-like’ configuration— along
with the large break in the ice on the right, which has frozen over. It suggests
the thin areas have drifted apart over time. It seems to have taken a long time
for the holes to take shape and it looks like many snowy seasons have passed
since the large crack in the ice on the right took shape. The pockets of air
have been trapped under the ice for a very long time. Guessing the sense of
scale, I assume the photo was taken from a relatively high altitude, from an
airplane making a passage to or from Antarctica during a warmer season. The
shadows do not appear to be particularly long, so the sun is mostly overhead.
Antarctic Summer gets the most light, so this may be Antarctic Fall or
Can I have a job, NASA?



April 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm

It looks similar to the same formation as a recent photo of a surfacing of 3



I don’t know if the location and timing correspond.


Mike J says:
April 24, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Meteor pieces


Cody says:
April 24, 2018 at 2:39 pm

It’s a large meteor


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Ted Parish says:

April 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

The military recently conducted an excercise in the Beaufort Sea where three
submarines surfaced through the ice. See the article at this link:


Douglas Scott says:

April 24, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Undersea volcanic/thermal plumes


Le Le says:
April 24, 2018 at 3:18 pm

The Chinese space station crashed into the earth’s atmosphere, broke apart
and scattered its contents. Some packages of kung pao chicken and szechuan
beef survived the fall and came to rest on the ice surface. Sadly, the food
didn’t survive the hungry seals and whales that broke through the ice to
attend the yummy feast.


Jack Turbes says:

April 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm

In Konrad Maurer’s research on Icelandic lore (1855), he addresses similar

phenomena that the Icelanders seemed to understand and explain as follows
in my translation of his book, “Icelandic Folklore in the 19th Century”:

“Chapter 3. Water Spirits

The Icelandic folktales tell of water spirits in the richest diversity and
definitely allow one to order them genetically with elves. Even in current
times, they both endure in various recognizable strains. We have already seen
previously that when the elves venture out to fish, the fishermen believe their
own generous yields will follow shortly thereafter. Another circumstance also
shows a closer relationship of man to the water spirits: when holes in the sea
ice result from air bubbles rising through them, people believe it is the work
of elves and so they call these holes “álfavakir” or elf holes.”

…and then goes on to another similar phenomenon with:

“…At various places throughout Iceland people point to so-called tvíbytnur or

bottomless bays and fjords that are said to connect below the earth with the
deepest ocean or with other bays. For example, on the bottom of the
Þorskafjörd is the Kólúngvakir, or Mussel Hole, and the Kóngavakir, or King´s
Hole. Where the bay is otherwise so shallow that one can walk or ride across it
on horseback at low tide, these places are so deep as to be bottomless.
People have used a sinkline and have not reached the bottom even at 120
fathoms. These places seldom or are late to freeze over, as the expressions
vök and vakir (ice holes) in the names indicate.

Additionally, it is said that there are subterranean connections between the

Þorskafjörd and the Ísafjörd with the result that the water levels in both bays
are always the same. A stone flounder that was caught in the Ísafjörd but tore
loose from the line was recaught in the Þorskafjörd, still trailing the lost lure
hooked in its mouth.”


Le Le says:
April 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Had the photo been taken at the right time about a few weeks earlier, we
would be seeing a group of giggling NOAA scientists walking away,
congratulating themselves on a well-played April Fool practical joke.


TIM S. says:
April 24, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Russian submarine antenna holes.

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Andrew says:
April 24, 2018 at 4:36 pm

I wish I knew what the scale is.

My guess is methane.


bodo says:
April 24, 2018 at 4:44 pm

I’d guess parts of meteors sinking into the ice heating up some part of the
surface while at it.


Kristján Helgason says:

April 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Part of the Russian space station landed unexpectedly at this location. They
were quite hot when they landed. The nearly closed circle is the smallest piece
and the heavier one are still open.


Jeff Chadwick says:

April 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Submarines surfaced,circle iis from the push through.and the hole is from the


John Olson says:

April 24, 2018 at 5:58 pm

How about ponds of slightly extra-saline water, being a little heavier, boring
through the ice with a slightly spinning circulation caused by wind? This is top
down model.


Dave Lachance says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:19 pm

My first impression of the holes is that they have formed as the result of
melting gas hydrates bubbling to the surface.


BvR says:
April 24, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Leaking gas, probably methane


Terry Oliver says:

April 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm



Mark Kurtis says:

April 24, 2018 at 8:01 pm

I’m going to guess that the holes in the thin ice was due to melting caused by
an upwelling of warmer waters due to methane releases from the sea floor.


paul clarke says:

April 24, 2018 at 9:27 pm

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CHASING THE BLUE…..IMHO It rained or got so warm the snow/ice melted.
Enough water drained into the 3 low points before refreezing that it
accumulated deep enough to scatter sunlight and turn it blue. Just as the sky
does. The darker colour absorbed more and more heat from sunlight and the
surrounding ice insulates it. Through this process the holes go deeper and
deeper. Its happening all over the polar regions and the pools can cleave the
ice either through their own weight or by refreezing. With this process plus
with the buttressing ice shelves and glaciers collapsing, ice sheets will slip off
land way way faster than most are expecting


Fred says:
April 24, 2018 at 9:46 pm

ICEX 2018


Lib says:
April 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm

Holes from Meteorite ?


Carol Edwards says:

April 24, 2018 at 10:26 pm

I believe the holes are caused by methane plumes.


Sandeep S. says:
April 24, 2018 at 10:28 pm

Whales expelling water through their blow holes below the Arctic ice sheet 🙂


Thomas Meyer says:

April 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

Some hot gaz bubbles due to seismic activity underneath ?


James Luscher says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:07 pm



Will Neustaedter says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:45 pm

I’m guessing they are a result of some sort of debris which landed on the ice
and changed its reflectivity, made it melt faster than the ice around it.


Harfango says:
April 24, 2018 at 11:52 pm

Lyrides ?


Mark Henderson says:

April 24, 2018 at 11:57 pm

This could have been the wintering grounds of the Spectacled Eider
(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacled_eider), which spends the winter
in the artic or Berring sea. They group together and maintain a zone of non-
frozen water despite the artic temperatures. Note that it also seems there was
a forth area, but frozen over.


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Udi says:
April 25, 2018 at 1:42 am

Looks like warm meteoroid fractures melted the ice and created these small
pools like shapes


Mark Ames says:

April 25, 2018 at 1:56 am

Thermal upwelling from an underwater volcano. There must be multiple

columns of heated water rising from the ocean floor from fissures in the
ocean floor


Tina Maybritt Nielsen says:

April 25, 2018 at 2:48 am

Looks like the face of God crying…we’re doing wrong. Go green.


Ole Rytter says:

April 25, 2018 at 3:10 am

I think it may be a meteor that on its way to the eath has been broken into
tree and made the tree holes


Mohamad Salale says:

April 25, 2018 at 3:31 am

I think that is is also caused by some sort of meteorite.? cause if you look
closely then it show like something struck down through the thick ice, and
made like a “bomb a like” hole and caving around it.


Jonathan Muf Wittchen says:

April 25, 2018 at 3:34 am

Could be the beginning of an underwater volcano That might be erupting


Mark Enersen says:

April 25, 2018 at 3:35 am

Depending on seadepth it could perhaps be stranded whales ?


Mike says:
April 25, 2018 at 3:46 am

Could it be from a vulcano beneath the ice, making its apperance ?


Claus V. Nielsen says:

April 25, 2018 at 4:05 am

It could be a submarine.
If the whole area is considered, it may be seen that the ice has been pierced
(mountain back).
The 3 holes have can be nose, tower and tail from the submarine, here the ice
has not “fall into place”. Several other things also indiDTcate that a submarine
has been around.


Rasmus says:
April 25, 2018 at 4:25 am

It certainly looks like some small fragments from space or some meteors have
hit the ice. The heat which comes from the fragments/meteors in combination
with the weather could be the reason how the holes has formed in the

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Kasper e says:
April 25, 2018 at 5:06 am

As others have already stated, it’s likely from submarines.


Chris Bray says:

April 25, 2018 at 5:20 am

The holes are created by a subsurface volcano or volcanos, giving off super
heated steam which penetrates the ice and is trapped in the ice as a bubble
creating a cavity which works its way to the surface and emerges as a slightly
different and warmer lighter liquid than the surrounding ice (like a boil) The
super heated subsurface ice re crystalizes to a slightly different molecular
make up and is forced and held internally within the surrounding ice. Because
the molecular change that occurred this .allows it to be drawn to the surface


Eric says:
April 25, 2018 at 5:24 am

What about impacts of debris from the Chinese station reentry beginning of
April ?


Andrei says:
April 25, 2018 at 5:31 am

Nuclear submarines. Period. That’s exactly the shape left by a nuclear

submarine emerging from water.


Philip Saysell says:

April 25, 2018 at 5:43 am

Release of methane hydrates following the recent warming in the Arctic.


Michel Caplain says:

April 25, 2018 at 6:27 am

One meteorite split in three parts just before crashing.

This explains the similarly oriented ellipse shaped holes and the shock
induced wave patterns.


artur says:
April 25, 2018 at 6:30 am

plane destroyed or space ship. three points , wings and pilot cocpit in
rectangle and aircraft tail , very symmetrical 3 points . in my opinion: outline
of flying machine


Karma says:
April 25, 2018 at 7:37 am

everyone has made amazing comments, i was thinking who knows it could be
holes made by people living there to catch fish.


Stuart Ellison says:

April 25, 2018 at 7:47 am

These are meteorite holes or holes made by space debris.

The impacts look like very small but high velocity items that have punched
clean through the ice with minimal or no splash.

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As these very small items plunge into the water below they will create
cavitation in their wake, this cavitation will generate pressure disturbances in
the body of the seawater and some waves at the surface radiating outwards
from the point of impact

As the ice sheet has flexed with the waves from the impact, water from below
has flowed up / been drawn up through the hole and has pushed the snow on
top of the ice sheet outwards from the hole where it has left a “tide mark”.

The water has then drained slowly back down through the hole.

All that remains is a small how in the ice surrounded by an area of snow free
ice and a tide mark at the periphery of the feature.


Neil Roiland says:

April 25, 2018 at 8:15 am

It’s obvious that these are impact holes from a asteroid that was very large
and very hot. The holes show the trajectory of the pieces and the reaction of
the ice.
Must have been cool to see.


Luis Emmanuel Moreno Figueroa says:

April 25, 2018 at 8:42 am

is the outlet of a hot spring source by volcanic activity in the south pole


Josh R says:
April 25, 2018 at 8:45 am

I am not going to read all of the responses, but I am sure someone has said
this same thing more than once.

I believe these are the impact sites of meteorites or even pieces of the
Chinese satellite that crashed to earth. They would have come in from similar
angles and very hot. After impact, the residual heat of the object would have
created a pool of melted ice around the impact site which would have then
cooled separately creating different densities and temperatures of freezing ice
and creating the image of a ring around the impact site.


Gregers Sornn-Friese says:

April 25, 2018 at 9:30 am

Maybe created by leftovers from meteorites?


Troy Anderson says:

April 25, 2018 at 9:49 am

Probably deep sea thermal vents.


Wiet Wildeman says:

April 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

The holes in this picture seems to me to come from the outside rather than
from within. The more so, because to judge from the picture, the space
around the holes seem to have a wave effect, like you can observe in the
landscape, for example at Meteor Crater in Arizona. Perhaps it comes from
falling debris from a down coming satellite in this case?


Dalila Fearn says:

April 25, 2018 at 10:04 am

Perhaps they were formed by some volcanic eruption under the sea and the
heat from the volcano has melted the ice and will keep it melted until it stops

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erupting, if enough lava comes out, one never knows, a new land may be
formed, just a thought.


Dalila Fearn says:

April 25, 2018 at 10:06 am

There’s a possibility of course that some debris from outer space has crashed
there, there is no indication as to how big the holes are. Will be interesting to
see if they close up again and how soon.


Trond says:
April 25, 2018 at 10:24 am

It’s rocks from outer space, landing on the ice.


CJ says:
April 25, 2018 at 11:03 am

Space debris from Tiangong 1 or another man-made satellite?


Doug Smart says:

April 25, 2018 at 11:06 am

Gas blow out. Probably methane.


MarioSur says:
April 25, 2018 at 11:27 am

Los agujeros pueden ser el resultado de impactos de basura espacial que

cayeron en el lugar.


David K says:
April 25, 2018 at 11:52 am

The ice conditions including the holes in the ice and bulls-eye effect around
them are a result of surface water drainage. The holes may have been started
naturally (by shallow rocks or seals), or, perhaps from ice fisherman cutting a
hole. Since ice is rarely flat, water that ponds on the surface will drain to the
holes and the holes grow larger (the warmer water melts the edges of the hole
making it larger). The outer bulls-eye is where the water was before it drained.
This can all be replicated at a smaller scale on a frozen pond with recent snow
melt or rain.
–Im a ice fisherman. I caused this to happen once and almost lost a friend
who almost slipped into my old auger hole, which had gotten man-size after a
rain event.


Oliver Lehmann says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:05 pm

These are Gas Bubbles of whale farts that worked their way through the ice
until they escaped into the atmosphere. After a while, the hole will close
again, as the photos shows in the pattern bottom left of the holes, that looks
like a previously open hole.


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:28 am

Lol… That’s great


Jim Krizek says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:17 pm

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They are locations where something dark in color fell on, or was placed, the
ice. Then the sun heated the darker material more than the reflective snow
colored ice, and caused localized warming and subsequent melting of the ice
at those locations.


Daniel says:
April 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Military satellites testing space laser technology fired down at the ice. I’d take
off my tinfoil hat but it’s permanently fused to my head.


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:27 am

Tinfoil makes it worse guy,… lol


Magnus Sveinsson says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Particles from meteorite or satellite fell on the ice and the sun warmed the
stone until they melted through the ice.
The warm water made this little puddle around the hole before they went


Michael Robinson says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Ok, whats goin on here is holes were punched in the atmosphere which let a
bunch of charged particles in like a kid burning ants. Accept its ice. I can bet
the holes appearance coincides either a bunch of rockets punching holes in
the protective atmosphere or a solar event that warped the earths magnetic
field lines sending particles through the ice heating it up. So while u all are
looking down i would send some of those planes takin pics directly above
them holes with some equipment capable of measuring field distortions or


Lars Rasmussen says:

April 25, 2018 at 12:57 pm


Looks like 4 meteor drops. 3 of them melted trough the ice.


Brian Colton says:

April 25, 2018 at 1:07 pm

It’s the holes left behind from U.S. Navy submarines breaking through the ice
during ICEX 2018, an Arctic exercise conducted in the Beaufort Sea at Camp
Skate. Nothing mysterious here!


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:25 am

Dude… the ice is really thick.. I don’t think so


jess says:
April 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

thermokarst lakes ?


Karl Newman says:

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April 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Maybe the holes are due to dark-colored garbage that soak up solar heat and
melt the surrounding ice. The dark water in the initial hole then soaks up
more heat, expanding the hole somewhat.


Le Le says:
April 25, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Dora (Nemo’s friend), after taking directions from a local whale, managed to
pop her head out of the ice and said “I am supposed to go south. There’s the
sun. I am going to head left of that.”. She dove back down under the ice.

Five minutes later, she made her way up through the icesheet. “I am supposed
to go west. Now where is the sun?…There! Turn right”. And down she went.

Another 3 minutes went by, Dora again popped up: “North….I have to go
north….let’s see…That way!”

…and so she went for 3 more attempts.

What happened subsequently, I really don’t know.


Bill says:
April 25, 2018 at 3:40 pm

I think the holes in the article ice were caused by falling space junk


Matt says:
April 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Its pretty obvious.

An earthquake has released trapped gases, which have found the weakest
parts of the ice sheet, escaping to the surface. The surrounding rings are just
snow drift.


Keith C says:
April 25, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Perhaps where a large mammal died and has since decayed.

The heating of the carcass while still intact could cause irregular freeze/thaw
over x years…
Or not.


Katie sheard says:

April 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Bacteria warming.. Or space spiders


Eugene Potapov says:

April 25, 2018 at 10:31 pm

This is certainly methane-related activity. Support the Pleistocene Park

Foundation Effort to mitigate such releases before it is too late.


By preserving permafrost one can mitigate such events. Yes, Mackenzie River
brings too much warm water to the sea.


Tom says:
April 25, 2018 at 10:47 pm

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I’m betting on breathing holes for Beluga Whales. That ice is thick and it likely
took a large animal to break through. Additionally, the area around the holes
is undisturbed so it was likely an animal that spends all of it’s time in the
water. It looks like liquid water has pooled on the surface around the holes,
which could have been caused by a brief thaw, which could explain the ring
pattern. I have seen something similar while ice fishing when a hole is bored
in the ice and then a brief thaw occurs afterwards, liquid water pools around
these holes, and then can freeze again when the air temperature drops at
night. If the conditions are just right, this process can occur more than once
and can leave some interesting patterns in the ice. It could also be from a
large animal or a large group of animals that crawled on top of the ice around
the hole. The pressure from the weight could have forced the water to rise
and pool around the holes, but the area around the holes seems relatively
undisturbed, so I’m leaning on some sort of unseasonable thawing process.
Belugas prefer estuaries during the summer, so they seem to be arriving a
little early this year; perhaps because they are confused by differentiated
weather patterns due to climate change. Just some food for thought from an
amateur scientist.



joe says:
April 25, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Why can’t this be a meteor impact, breaking up into the pieces and
plummeting through the ice.


Billy Surber says:

April 25, 2018 at 11:46 pm

Anybody see where the Chinese space lab landed! On a serious note I think it
is either a meteorite coming down and breaking up in to a couple pieces.


Max says:
April 26, 2018 at 1:05 am

I think it’s very reminiscent of the craters from the fall of some debris which
burned through the surface. In outline it seems that the fall was at low speed.


jayant ratna says:

April 26, 2018 at 1:32 am

The cracks in the ice caps are sink holes due to global warming. They can be
termed as ice pits given the lack of detail in the structures. Arctic sink holes
cannot be defined as geographical features but do not merit much
investigation. The heat drop in each sink hole is not much to be treated as a
scientific problem. What needs to be investigated is whether global warming
is indeed a phenomenon that can qualify as a mishap. If not where is the need
for multi nation protocols.


toby jaco says:

April 26, 2018 at 2:07 am

Gas from the bottom of the sea.

At the left in the picture we see a new “hole” developing from gas, an has
warme the ice surface
but there is not a hole, yet.
Definitively, not made by animals.


Sasha Norris says:

April 26, 2018 at 2:59 am

Space junk after entering atmosphere and heating up then melting the ice?


Elizabeth says:
April 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

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Possible volcanic activity


Inquirer says:
April 26, 2018 at 8:45 am

I agree with some of the other suggestions. There may be a geyser-type

release of heated gas or water coming from beneath the ice and pushing
water upward at that temperature, which is created a small, distinct hole and
pooling where the water is refreezing. Two further questions come to mind,
though. Wouldn’t there need to be quite a bit of pressure to make such a
precise hole from below? I feel any animal or impact would otherwise be
messy. Also, if it were warm enough to create a hole from below, but
immediately refroze in a wave-like pattern, the freezing time is escalated
somehow, is it not? My mind keeps going to a science experiment I saw on
youtube where someone said they added sodium acetate to hot water, let it
cool, then added dry ice and it almost immediately froze. Similar scenario?
Different chemicals?


Montgomery Miller says:

April 26, 2018 at 11:21 am

I believe that a meteorite or discarded space debris broke apart after entering
the Earth’s atmosphere and the 3 most prominent pieces created the holes
and surface features we are seeing in the NASA image. The force of the
impacts were enough to cause the rifting and circular “craters” around each
impact zone. That’s it, plain and simple.


Arsalan says:
April 26, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Earth’s magnetic fluctuations caused a ruptures in atmospheric fabric

allowing strong solar light penetrate the atmosphere and hit the ice allowing
it to melt. Natural magnifying glass over sun….


Randy James Shell says:

April 27, 2018 at 1:15 am

I have the same thing happened to me just on a way smaller scale but with
the same concept
that you would see in a meltdown squishy or icee slushy with the suction of
the weight from the mass of earth circulation So it’s probably pinned pointed
the sun with a magnifying glass maybe from some reflection from ice glass…
possibly.. I think it’s going to implode on it’s self and make on gigantic sink
slush hole… some where those pockets of air underneath the near bottom of
the ice block is heating up extremely so there’s probably magma flowing
through the bedrock punctured and caused high intense steam to blast
through the top from the bottom… So it’s not from surface damage it’s from
earth trying to release pressure. That’s my theory or hypnosis.


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