In some parts of the world, you can find bright green moss balls scattered across the glacier.
Many people may not have been surprised at first, but what's really noticeable is that these moss balls can . move. All at the same speed and in the same direction.
The glacial moss balls are often called 'glacial rats'. Each ball is like a soft pillow. The study authors believe that they grow from impurities on the ice surface and represent a relatively rare phenomenon.
Tim Bartholomaus, a glacier researcher at the University of Idaho, said he first came across these glacial rats in 2006 around the Root Glacier in Alaska.
Moss ball in Iceland.
However, it is worth noting that these moss balls move an average of about 1.54 cm per day. Sophie Gilbert, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Idaho and one of the study's co-authors, noted that motion is necessary for ice moss balls because the entire surface of the ball must be continued. exposed to the sun.
These really have to roll around otherwise the moss on the bottom will die, Lau Gilbert said.
They were discovered in Alaska, Iceland, Svalbard and South America. Scientists have known about them since at least the 1950s. However, despite knowing that these mysterious ice moss balls exist, scientists still have a lot to learn about them.
One of the biggest questions is why they can live at least six years, moving so steadily. Some scientists believe that the key may lie at the base of the ice , possibly formed because the ball protects the ice beneath it and prevents it from melting as quickly as surrounding ice. According to this theory, the ball will eventually fall off the ice and roll away.
In an attempt to dig deeper, the researchers decided to track 30 moss balls in Alaska and tag each ball with a small wire loop with colored beads.
They tracked the position of each ball for 54 days in 2009 and then returned to check them in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Although the researchers predicted that the balls would be in random places. However, from rolling off the ice platform, the reality is different. Moss balls move together.
Researchers have tried to explain this strange finding in many ways. At first, they thought the balls were rolling downhill. Then they thought the wind blew them in consistent directions. But when they measured the prevailing direction of the wind, that was not explained either.
And finally, they looked at the defrosting sun and moving the moss ice balls, but the direction of the solar radiation did not match the direction the balls were moving. Researchers still don't know why these strange moss balls move so much.
And so far, the mysterious moss ball still has no exact solution. Bartholomaus says that he hopes that someday future generations will be able to go to the end of these great mysteries.