A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months

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By JUGAL K. PATEL FEB. 7, 2017

A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest
ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting
close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this
year in an area already vulnerable to warming
temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown
by the length of about five football fields each day.

The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf.

Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon.

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