Giant crack sighted in Antarctic ice sheet
Possible break-apart could form an iceberg the size
of NY City:
US: A massive crack is growing wider in the Antarctic ice sheet and
could break apart in the coming months, forming an iceberg the size of
New York City, NASA scientists warned on Thursday.
The crack in western Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier stretches for
at least 18 miles (30 kilometers) and runs 165 feet (50 meters) deep.
The rift is widening at a rate of 6.5 feet (two meters) per day, said
NASA project scientist Michael Studinger.
When the ice breaks apart, it will produce an iceberg more than 340
square miles (880 square kilometers), said Studinger, who is part of the
US space agency’s IceBridge project.
But the process is not a result of global warming, he said.
“We expect that later this year or early next year year there will be
a pretty large iceberg forming as part of a natural cycle,” he added.
“These are cyclical events that occur every few years. The last big
calving event occurred in 2001, so in general people have been expecting
something to happen like that very soon.