This striking photo taken from NASA’s Terra spacecraft reveals the nineteen-mile crack that will eventually result in the separation of a whopping 350-square-mile iceberg breaking off the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.
According to Ted Scambos of Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, cracks of this kind are part of a natural cycle.
“If something different happened this time; for example, the pace of calvings changed, or this one was farther upstream from the past ones, then it might signal some major change in the Pine Island system,” said Scambos, adding that the area is changing in other ways, but the rate of calving has been steady over the last few decades.
Others, such as Bob Bindschadler of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, are surprised that the crack seemed to spread so suddenly across the ice shelf and escaped observation.
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