Saturday, July 22, 2017

Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf:  New Rift Detected

Where a trillion-ton iceberg calved last week, researchers have detected a new rift.  The concern is that the Larsen C ice shelf will destabilize and collapse, releasing glacial ice into the sea.
Aerial view of the rift in the Larsen C ice shelf (Credit: Reuters/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) Click to Enlarge.

A new rift has been detected in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica - just a week after one of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke off from it.

Researchers at Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf and first detected the iceberg's calving, say the new rift appears to be extending northward.

They point out that although this new rift will probably turn toward the shelf edge, creating a small iceberg, there is a risk it will continue toward the Bawden Ice Rise, a point that is crucial to keeping the shelf stable.

"We see a new short feature of around 6 kilometers [3.7 miles] heading north from the complex region of cracks that formed just before the iceberg broke away," said Adrian Luckman, a professor of glaciology at Swansea University, who is leading the research at MIDAS.

Luckman says that researchers will continue to monitor the new rift, and that there is "no cause for concern" just yet.

Read more at Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf:  New Rift Detected

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