The gigantic fracture that will generate an immense iceberg in Antarctica



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The gigantic fracture that will generate an immense iceberg in Antarctica

They call it Halloween Fracture. It was formed in Antarctica and is a huge rift in the McDonald Glacier, which will produce a gigantic iceberg. Sentinel 2 of the European Copernicus program managed by ESA is monitoring the situation, which is becoming more dramatic every day.

The huge chunk remains anchored to the rest of the glacier by a narrow strip of ice about 600 meters long. Monitoring by satellites allows us to better understand how ice shelves are sensitive to external changes and how they evolve over time.

ESA scientists explained: "This tip of the platform is hanging by a thread. If and when this potential breaking point finally fails, it is expected to generate a huge iceberg of around 1,750 square kilometers, which is over five times the size of the iceberg size of Malta.

Routine monitoring by satellites with varying observation capabilities offers unprecedented insight into events occurring in remote regions such as Antarctica and how ice shelves are coping with changes in ice dynamics and As a result of climate change, Antarctica's ice shelves are weakening, leading to greater risks of more Earth's ice ending up in the oceans and thus adding to sea level rise, something probably scarier than Halloween.

This crack is currently stable but runs adjacent the more precarious tip of Brunt Ice Shelf - now only held in place by a narrow strip of ice around 600 m long."

First spotted on October 31, 2016, the date that earned it the nickname, the rift is constantly monitored by satellites, such as Sentinel 2 of the European Copernicus program, managed by the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

The long fracture that cuts through a considerable part of the glacier appears stable at the moment, but the large ice shelf is held anchored to the rest of the glacier by a strip extending about 650 meters. If the fracture were to extend, it is estimated that a huge iceberg would be produced measuring 1,750 square kilometers, the equivalent of 5 times the size of Malta.

Being a block of floating ice, its melting would not produce a rise in sea level, but its loss would facilitate the sliding of the innermost parts of the glacier, those that rest on the mainland and whose melting would contribute to the increase in the level of the sea.