A huge Crack in a 1,000-Foot-Thick Antarctic Ice Block Has Taken an Alarming Turn
A crack in Larsen C, one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves, could shed a block of ice twice the size of Rhode Island. The crack recently split in two and forked northward. When the ice calves, more ice behind the block could destabilize and push into the sea.
A slab of ice nearly twice the size of Rhode Island is breaking off a massive Antarctic glacier, and new satellite images do not bode well for the block’s survival.
The giant ice block is part of the Larsen C ice shelf, which is the leading edge of one of the world’s largest glacier systems. A single large crack in the ice shelf has rapidly developed since 2010, lengthening to about 120 miles.
Now scientists say that a 6-mile fork in the rift has formed at its leading edge. While the main part of the rift doesn’t seem to have grown over the past couple of months, the new branch points northward, toward the Southern Ocean – making it seem more likely the ice block will break off.
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