A crack on the Antarctic ice shelf appears to be grown dramatically from late 2020 through 2021. So scientists wonder when the inevitable breaking of the largest piece of ice on the surface of Rome will happen.
The breaking of these huge chunks of ice is part of a natural and cyclical process of growth and decay of the Earth’s ice sheets (although obviously all of this is accelerated by climate change). In this regard, the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica appears to be in a period of instability, with cracks spreading across its surface.
There have already been several rifts in this glacier, like “the Halloween Crack” of 2016. The new crack, however, appears to be even faster than that of 2016. The crack, in fact, appears in satellite images as early as September 2019, when it had grown by just over 2 km during the southern winter.
The biggest growth happened recently, exactly between 18 November and 22 December 2020, a good 20 km, to then break further 8 kilometers by 12 January 2021. “It is impossible to know exactly what caused this new fracture to spread so rapidly“said Christopher Shuman is a University of Maryland glaciologist.
It may have been the other cracks that accelerated the phenomenon, according to experts. The exact timing of the break is uncertain, but the scientists are staying continuously monitoring the situation.