This New Video Footage Shows A Huge Crack In Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf

Posted: Feb 23 2017, 8:02am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

This New Video Footage Shows a Huge Crack in Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf
British Antarctic Survey Video Screenshot
  • Novel Observational Efforts show a Giant Delaware-Sized Iceberg about to Detach itself from Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf

The novel observational efforts show that a large ice shelf is about to detach itself from the frozen continent of Antarctica.

A humongous iceberg is about to separate itself from the Larsen C ice shelf. The iceberg is about the size of Norfolk and as for the ice shelf, it is as large as Wales.

Satellite data from the month of February shows the cracks and fissures that are rapidly appearing in this region of Antarctica. A swathe that is approximately 5000 square kilometers is about to be ejected from the continent.

Experts from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have seen many further cracks and abysses form between the parent ice shelf and the huge iceberg that is in the process of giving way.

This sort of monitoring has been going on since a long time in order to better understand the transformations taking place in the locus.

The video footage of the region shows quite clearly that the changes taking place are major ones that will destabilize some of the weather patterns of the earth. Scientists have used seismic equipment to gauge what is happening beneath the ice shelf.

Since the area shows instability, the researchers didn’t stay too long to judge what exactly was going on there. Normally, ice shelves produce icebergs every couple of decades or so.

It is still a moot point whether the separation process going on in Antarctica’s ice shelf is due to climate change or not. Yet the evidence is growing day by day that global warming is the real reason behind this novel geological process.

The thinning of the ice may cause further retreat of the iceberg with its concomitant effects on sea levels along the coastal regions of the earth.

This happening is a standard part of the act of glaciation. There are chances that Larsen C will regrow the ice that is lost. However, there is also a chance that this catastrophe will leave it destabilized and at the mercy of the elements.

Only time will tell what exactly is taking place as well as its ultimate consequences for the earth and its denizens. Ice shelves and glaciers are the norm in the Antarctic continent where permafrost is a usual phenomenon.

The separation of icebergs which float about is a hazard to passing ships. Since 90% of the iceberg lies submerged beneath the water, it is a treacherous piece of geological formation that may cause maritime vessels to undergo collisions and thus capsize. Also via a meltdown, the water released from these icebergs may cause coastal regions to face tidal waves.

Dr Paul Holland, ice and ocean modeller at British Antarctic Survey, says: “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. However, it is also possible that this iceberg calving will leave Larsen C in an unstable configuration.

“If that happens, further iceberg calving could cause a retreat of Larsen C. We won’t be able to tell whether Larsen C is unstable until the iceberg has calved and we are able to understand the behaviour of the remaining ice.

“The stability of ice shelves is important because they resist the flow of the grounded ice inland. After the collapse of Larsen B, its tributary glaciers accelerated, contributing to sea-level rise.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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