Images from the NASA reveal a worrying big crack in the middle of one of Greenland’s largest glaciers. The researchers now fear that it will release and speed up the melting of the ice sheet.
The Peterman Glacier in northwestern Greenland is one of the largest glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere, and at the moment, the risk of it melting has increased.
This enormous ice sheet is circa 70 kilometers long, 15 kilometers wide and at the moment, much of it risks melting and sliding into the ocean.
New images from NASA reveals a worrying big crack in the middle of the giant ice sheet. First discovered by Dutch scientist Stef Lhermitte who raised NASA’s attention with the below post on Twitter.
Is this recent internal crack in #Petermann glacier the prelude of a new @Petermann_ice island? 1/5 pic.twitter.com/V8qKF1MwmC
— Stef Lhermitte (@StefLhermitte) 12 april 2017
Even if cracks in glaciers aren’t unusual, this new discovery is extra alarming, as the crack is spreading in the middle of the great glacier and not at its edges, as previously seen.
It worries the researchers who cannot explain exactly how the crack has occurred or how it will develop. However, they emphasize one thing:
“The ice shelf is slowly but surely falling apart,”
– NASA scientist Eric Rignot to Washington Post.
Particularly worrying is that the crack is moving towards a previous crack, which extends from the eastern part of the glacier to the center. If the two cracks meet, it may cause the glacier to dissolve. It can have disastrous consequences, as the glacier serves as a buffer between the open sea and the ice sheet. The smaller the buffer, the faster the ice will land on the warmer ground, and it may cause the sea water to rise dramatically.
Below the Peterman Glacier, a deep passageway was discovered in 2013 when the landmass was first mapped in its entirety. An outlet that connects with a vast and submerged system of canyons that deeply undercut Greenland and travel to its center beneath the ice sheet, seen in the below NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center video.
This crack is developing simultaneously as another immense crack is developing on the other side of the planet, in Antarctica, Immense crack spreading across Antarctic ice shelf.