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MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images

Greenland’s Melting Ice Could Be Triggering Mountain Collapses

MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images
MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images

Melting Arctic ice isn't just bad news for sea levels. In Greenland, ice that previously held mountains together is melting, shaking loose unstable rock, according to New Scientist. That triggers huge landslides, which in turn leads to deadly tsunamis.

In June, 39 people were evacuated and several were killed after a tsunami flooded the remote island of Nuugaatsiaq, Greenland. Initially, authorities thought the tsunami was the result of a 4.1 earthquake off the coast. But it turned out that it wasn't an earthquake at all. The tsunami was triggered by part of a mountain collapsing, creating a giant landslide of seismic proportions that fell into the sea.

As the world gets warmer, we may have to deal with more incidents like these. Where previously ice might have been able to hold together the unstable rock of a mountain, if that ice melts, there's nothing to keep that rock from coming down. As a glaciologist told New Scientist, the melting and freezing cycles of ice in Greenland have created a dire situation.

Greenland and other fjord-dominated landscapes are at high risk for these sorts of disasters as ice melts. The sharp, steep cliffs of fjords make it easy for unstable rocks to go tumbling into deep water, causing dangerously strong waves. These tsunamis can reach speeds of more than 500 miles per hour. The deeper the water that the mountain collapses into, the stronger the tsunami, which means more bad news from rising sea levels.

[h/t New Scientist]

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Weather Watch
It Just Snowed In the Sahara for the Second Time In Less Than a Month
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iStock

The town of Aïn Séfra, Algeria might need to find a new nickname. Though it’s often referred to as “The Gateway to the Sahara,” the 137-year-old province in northwest Algeria is currently digging out from a rare—and unexpected—snowstorm that left the desert town covered in several inches of snow and battling sub-zero temperatures.

While the Daily Mail reported that “locals took to the nearby sand dunes to enjoy the unusual weather,” the strangest part of the story is that this is Aïn Séfra’s second snowfall in less than a month. On Sunday, January 7, a freak blizzard left parts of the Sahara blanketed in as much as 16 inches of snow.

This most recent storm marked the region’s fourth snowfall in nearly 40 years; in addition to January's dose of the white stuff, the area has been hit with other surprise wintry events in February 1979 and December 2016.

But North Africa isn’t the only area that’s seeing record-breaking weather events. On Saturday, February 3, 17 inches of snow fell on Moscow within 24 hours in what the country has dubbed “the snowfall of the century.” In mid-January, Oymyakon, Russia—a rural village in the Yakutia region, which is already well known as one of the coldest inhabited areas of the world—saw temperatures drop to -88.6°F, making it chilly enough to both bust thermometers and freeze people’s eyelashes. And you thought dealing with single-digit temperatures was tough!

[h/t: Daily Mail]

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Weather Watch
Record-Breaking 17 Inches of Snow Covers Moscow in 24 Hours
Vasily Maximov, AFP/Getty Images
Vasily Maximov, AFP/Getty Images

Moscow sees some of the most brutal winters of any world capital, but even locals weren't prepared for the most recent winter storm to batter the city. As Newsweek reports, a record-breaking 17 inches of snow buried Moscow within 24 hours.

Roughly 7 inches of snow fell just on Saturday, February 3, and the deluge continued through the following Sunday. The accumulation has already been dubbed the "snowfall of the century," and officials expect up to 3 additional inches to cover the ground over the next three days.

The sudden blizzard has brought life to a stand-still in the metropolis of 12 million. The mayor is warning motorists to stay off the roads as around 15,000 snowplows clear the snow. About 2000 trees have been toppled by the storm, injuring at least five people and killing one.

Even as the worst of the weather winds down, over 40,000 people in Moscow and the surrounding regions are without power. Meanwhile, traveling in and out of the city has become close to impossible: Around 100 flights are grounded at the local airport indefinitely and at least 10 have been canceled all together.

The historic snowfall hasn't stopped many of Moscow's tougher residents from venturing outside. Check out photos from the event below.

Person cross-country skiing over snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through a blizzard in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through the snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through the snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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