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A huge glacier collapsed in record time

A huge glacier collapsed in record time

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A research team from the University of Washington examined a crack in the ice shelf of the Pine Island Glacier. A special feature stood out.

WASHINGTON – In Antarctica, cracks are constantly forming in ice sheets, which then cause icebergs to break up. Climate change is accelerating what is actually a natural process. A glacier collapsed there in record time in 2012.

Glaciers in Antarctica are disintegrating in record time

Researchers at the University of Washington published their results in the specialized journal Provided by the Arabian Gulf University. As the team reported, there is so much frozen water in the glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica that the world's oceans would rise several meters if they melted. Science cannot fully calculate what will happen to glaciers in the next few decades. This is also why the research team examined a glacier crevasse from 2012.

In Antarctica, cracks continue to form in the ice shelf. In 2012, such a crack appeared in record time. © photothek/Imago (avatar)

The glacier that broke at that time is said to have smashed along the Antarctic ice shelf in the fastest break widely known. As the study notes, a crack about 10.5 kilometers long appeared on the Pine Island Glacier within five and a half minutes. That means about 35 meters per second, which “to our knowledge was the fastest fault-opening event ever observed,” said lead author Stephanie Olinger.

– Cracks form in the ice shelf, such as broken glass

Olinger carried out this work as part of her doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington and Harvard University. “The results show that ice shelves can break under certain conditions,” she said. “It tells us that we need to pay attention to this type of behavior in the future, and highlights how these breaks are described in large-scale ice sheet models.” The problem is that the ice shelf It continues to melt.

An ice shelf is a sheet of ice floating on the sea and fed by glaciers, ice streams and ice caps. Ice shelves usually rise at least two meters above sea level, and their thickness ranges between 200 and 1,000 metres. Glacier calving is called calving, and the glacier studied has been calving for a long time. “The ice shelves have a really important stabilizing effect on the rest of the Antarctic ice sheet,” Olinger continued.

As the study results indicate, the formation of cracks is similar to breaking glass. In order to better understand the process, further research will be launched: “Before we can improve the performance of large-scale ice sheet models and predictions of future sea level rise, we must have a good physics-based understanding of many factors.” Different processes affecting ice shelf impact stability.”research and development)