This study of the ocean floor was the first of its kind. It was made possible by recent improvements in autonomous ocean mapping technology and

a brave decision by the Wallenberg Foundation to invest in this research infrastructure. The pictures that Ran took give us important information

about what is happening at the critical point where the glacier meets the ocean right now. Anna Whlin works at the University of Gothenburg.

West Antarctica's Thwaites glacier is as big as the state of Florida. It has been looked at closely for decades because people are afraid that the

warming waters below the ice will cause the huge ice stream to collapse, which could raise sea levels around the world by up to 16 feet and flood

cities like Lagos, Shanghai, London, New York City, and Miami. 
Scientists have been worried about the Thwaites Glacier for decades.

Researchers asked if it was likely to fall apart as early as 1973. Nearly a decade later, they found that because the glacier is anchored to the seabed instead of to land,

warm ocean currents could melt it from underneath, making it unstable. 
Scientists started calling the area around the Thwaites the 

"weak underbelly of the West Antarctic ice sheet" after this research. 
In 2001, satellite data showed that the grounding line was receding by about 0.6 miles