NASA Scientists Warn a 30-Mile Ice Shelf Will Soon Break Off Antarctica


A satellite image shows Nansen Ice Shelf in Dec. 2015 Image: NASA
A satellite image shows Nansen Ice Shelf in Dec. 2015
Image: NASA
A gigantic ice shelf is on the verge of splitting away from Antarctica to become a free-floating iceberg, according to newly released images from NASA.

By Kate Lunau|MOTHERBOARD

They show a massive crack spanning nearly the entire width of the Nansen Ice Shelf—20 miles across and 30 miles long, more than double the size of Manhattan.

“There’s a huge crack, miles long and sometimes over a hundred yards wide”

The crack was first spotted two years ago via satellite. New images from December show that it has grown quite a bit, now stretching almost the entire width of the ice shelf. NASA scientists Christine Dow and Ryan Walker paid a visit to Nansen in December to take measurements, and flew overhead in a helicopter. “There’s a huge crack, miles long and sometimes over a hundred yards wide,” Walker wrote in a blog post, describing small icebergs tangled up in the crack, producing “a fascinatingly broken icescape.”

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