Cracks cutting across Antarctica’s Brunt ice shelf are on course to truncate the shelf and release an iceberg about the size of Greater London. The Brunt ice shelf is an area of floating ice bordering the Coats Land coast in the Weddell Sea sector of Antarctica.
This Copernicus Sentinel-2 image from 7 February 2019 shows two lengthening fractures: a large chasm running northwards and a split, dubbed Halloween Crack, that has been extending eastwards since October 2016. They are now only separated by a few kilometres. Halloween Crack runs from an area known as McDonald Ice Rumples, which is where the underside of the otherwise floating ice sheet is grounded on the shallow seabed. This pinning point slows the flow of ice and crumples the ice surface into waves. Routine monitoring by satellites with different observing capabilities offer unprecedented views of events happening in remote regions like Antarctica, and how ice shelves manage to retain their structural integrity in response to changes in ice dynamics, air and ocean temperatures.
Read full story: Sentinels monitor converging ice cracks