In 2002, OSU Geology Professor Lonnie Thompson and colleagues predicted the ice fields would disappear between 2015 and 2020, in part due to global warming.
Thompson says the Tanzania mountain's ice fields may disappear even sooner. In 2002, the scientists found the tops of the ice fields had lowered by at least 56 feet since 1962 -- an average reduction of about 1.5 feet in height each year.
The latest expedition added more chilling evidence:
-- At three places on the margin of the northern ice field, a 164-foot-high wall of ice has retreated about 16 feet since 2002.
-- A massive hole reaching bedrock has formed in the middle of the Furtwangler glacier, as well as in the northern ice field.
-- The northern ice field has lost 6.5 feet of ice from the surface, the Furtwangler has lost more than 10 feet, and the southern ice fields have lost as much as 16.5 feet.
No new ice has formed on any of the ice fields since 2000.