The giant crack in Antarctica unleashes an iceberg of 1270 square kilometers

Tram Ho

This dramatic split comes after a massive crack formed on the Brunt ice shelf in November 2020 and continues to grow until the ice completely separates on Feb. 26.

Accordingly, the “North Rift” crack is the third deepest slot that has tore through the Brunt ice shelf during the past decade.

It spreads northeastward of the Brunt ice shelf at a relatively slow speed, only about 0.6 miles (1 km) per day. However, on the morning of February 26, the crack had widened several hundred meters in just a few hours. It is known that scientists have predicted the appearance of this crack during many years ago.

“BAS’s research teams had been preparing for the previous years that an iceberg fell apart from the Brunt ice shelf. For the time being, the ice might move away or it could run aground and live. near the Brunt Ice Shelf, “said Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Vết nứt khổng lồ ở Nam Cực giải phóng tảng băng trôi rộng 1270 km2 - Ảnh 1.

North Rift crack when viewed from above

According to scientists, the phenomenon of an ice sheet separating from the ice shelf is completely natural, not due to climate change. In fact, every year, scientists regularly record the appearance of icebergs separate from the Brunt ice shelf.

However, the iceberg that appeared on February 26 is larger in size, estimated at 490 square miles (1,270 square kilometers), 20 times the size of Manhattan Island in New York.

“Although it is perfectly normal for the iceberg to separate from the Antarctic ice shelf, the events taking place at the Brunt Ice Shelf on Friday are still quite rare and interesting,” said Adrian Luckman, professor at the University. Swansea in Wales said.

The Brunt Ice Shelf is home to the BAS Halley VI research station, where scientists observe atmospheric and space weather.

In 2016, BAS moved the station 32 kilometers inland to avoid two other major cracks in the ice shelf known as “Chasm 1” and “Halloween Crack”. However, both cracks have not widened any further in the past 18 months. The research station is currently closed when the team of 12 people left Antarctica this past February.

Due to the unpredictability of iceberg formation and evacuation that can be difficult during the cold and dark winters, the team only worked at the station during the Antarctic summer for four. last year.

Every day, GPS devices that measure the deformation of the ice shelf continuously send information to the BAS headquarters in the UK. In parallel, the researchers also used satellite images of the European Space Agency, NASA and the German satellite TerraSAR-X to monitor the ice shelf.

Refer to Science Alert

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Source : Genk