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Papua glacier to disappear in five years

Published: 9:44PM Friday July 02, 2010 Source: ONE News

  • Punjak Jaya glaciers back in 1936 (Source: ONE News)
    Punjak Jaya glaciers back in 1936 - Source: ONE News

The only glacier on the island of New Guinea and the western Pacific could disappear in less then five years, the AFP is reporting.

A US scientist from the Ohio State University, who completed a mission to extract ice cores from the glacier on Punjak Jaya, says the glacier is dying.

Lonnie Thompson is one of the world's leading experts on glaciers and says that the Punjak Jaya glacier was literally melting under his tent, the water flowing underneath the ice, being clearly heard.

Puncak Jaya is the highest mountain in Indonesia, the highest on the island of New Guinea and the highest in Oceania.

It is also the highest point between the Himalayas and the Andes and the highest island peak anywhere in the world.

The first European to sight the glaciers on the peak was Dutch explorer Jan Carstensz in 1623.

He was ridiculed back in Europe when he said he saw snow near the equator, but was proven right later.

The peak was named Carstensz Pyramid, after the explorer, a name still used among mountaineers.