Satellite images captured the breach, which occurred about 10 years after satellite observations detected a growth in a formerly dormant crack in the ice known as Chasm-1, and nearly two years after A slightly smaller iceberg named A74 is detached from the same ice shelf. A rift is a crack in an ice shelf that extends all the way from the surface to the ocean below, while an ice shelf is a floating piece of ice that extends from glaciers formed on the land.
Ted Scampos, chief research scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, wrote in an email that while the iceberg is “a huge mass of ice, about 500 billion tons … it is a far cry from being the largest iceberg ever recorded, which rivals Long ” Island.”
The birthing event is not expected to affect BAS’ Halle Research Station, which was moved indoors in 2016 as a precaution after Chasm-1 began to grow.
However, Scampos wrote, “The new fracture places the base about 10 miles from the ocean, and a new crack could occur over the next few years, leading to another costly move of the station.” The new iceberg is expected to follow a similar path to that of the A74 in the Weddell Sea and will be named by the US National Ice Center.
Unlike some of the previous icebergs and collapsed ice shelves that have been around linked to climate changeA BAS press release said the downtime is a “natural process” and there is “no evidence that climate change has played a significant role”.
Instead, the gap started to grow due to “a build-up of stresses… due to the natural growth of the ice shelf,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a research glaciologist at Northumbria University, in the paper. 2019 BBC Story.
Scampos compares the caving of an iceberg to a chisel on a plank of wood. “In this case, the chisel was a small island called ‘McDonald Ice Rise,’” Scampos wrote. “The ice was being pushed against this rocky seamount by the ice flow, forcing it to split off and eventually break off the floating ice shelf.”
“These large ice caps, sometimes the size of a small country, are amazing. But they are just part of how the Antarctic ice sheet works,” Scampos said. “Most of the time they have nothing to do with climate change.”