The Brunt Ice Shelf was plagued for years by two cracks which have continued to grow and are now separated by a few miles. Researchers believe that a large-scale calving event may take place in the following weeks.
A team of researchers from the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling at the University of Leeds have released a video which showcases the progress of the two fissures, which are classified under the name of Chasm-1 and Halloween Crack. They are separated by a mere 3 miles (or five kilometers), and they are quite long. Chasm-1 has a length of 34 miles (54 kilometers) while Halloween Crack is a bit longer at 37 miles (60 kilometers).
It is thought that a significant calving event will take place when two cracks will meet, as a 1,594 square-kilometers are of floating ice shelf will leave the continent, leading to the formation of an iceberg so massive that it could be fitted in the Hawaiian Islands, as it would be a bit larger than Kauai and a bit smaller than Maui.
Massive Iceberg Will Soon Break Off Antarctica
The Brunt calving has been anticipated for a while. The British Antarctic Survey decided to shift its Halley VI research station preemptively a few ago since it could have gone adrift when the iceberg broke-off. Calving events are spectacular, but they are not as rare as some may hope. Several events took place in the past two decades, but it is estimated that this will be the largest one related to the Brunt shelf.
Some sources rushed to infer that global warming is the culprit, but this may not be the case. Scientists from Northumbria University have stated that the size and growth rate of the shelf accelerate the progress of the cracks, while the calving event has been deemed to be overdue.
Of course, the global temperature does contribute to the development of the cracks. It remains to be seen if the event will lead to a higher sea level.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.