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Antarctic Glacier Crack Is Getting Bigger, About To Bid Adieu To Antarctica

25 February 2017, 10:30 am EST By Samantha Dean Tech Times
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The ice-covered southernmost continent, Antarctica has been in the news since December 2016 due to a huge crack that has developed throughout the ice sheet. 

NASA researchers have recorded the crack along the Antarctic glacier, which has roughly increased by 30 miles within a month.

Larsen C, which is the name given to the resulting iceberg, may make its way to the ocean in another couple of months. The rift has now grown to around 100 miles in length.

A recent video shared by British Antarctic Survey and Project MIDAS researchers show the 1,500-foot wide crack developed along the Larsen C ice shelf.

If the predictions are to be believed, the rift will soon break off a 2,000 square mile section of the continent.

The Larsen C iceberg, which is estimated to be equal to the state of Delaware in size, first showed signs of the rift in December 2016. 

Larsen A and Larsen B had broken up in a similar manner and caused the sea levels to rise.

The Rift's Progression

The rift along the Larsen C shelf increased by 10 miles in December 2016 followed by six more miles in January.

The final report was covered by Operation Land Imager (OLI) of NASA on Jan. 26, and captured a mile long cleave, which was quite a distance from the Pine Island Glacier.

If the rift extends 12 miles more, Larsen C will break off into the Weddell Sea.

If the ice shelf gets detached in this manner, the rift will become one of the 10 largest icebergs ever recorded in history.

"Iceberg calving is a normal part of the glacier life cycle, and there is every chance that Larsen C will remain stable and this ice will regrow," says Paul Holland, a British Antarctic Survey Ice and Ocean modeler.

However, in 2014, a similar report of an iceberg named B-31, with an estimated size that is the same as Singapore, broke from the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.

Future Predictions

According to a study published in Nature in 2016, scientists posited that due to global warming, melting of polar ice caps would be a serious issue.

One of the main reasons cited for it was the increase in greenhouse emissions, which over the next few years may cause the complete collapse of the Antarctica. This will result in a massive rise in sea level, estimated to be up to 3 feet by 2100 and 45 feet by 2500.

Below is the video showing the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

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