An iceberg about twice the size of the city of New York is about to break with the Antarctic ice floe following the rapid spread of a Nasa-monitored flaw.
A crack along part of the Antarctic ice floe Brunt first appeared in October 2016, according to the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). The crack spreads to the east. This fault, known as the Halloween crack, is expected to intersect with another seemingly stable crack over the past 35 years, but is now accelerating north at a rate of about 2.5 miles per year.
Once these two divisions have met, which could happen in the coming weeks, an iceberg of at least 660 square miles should be released.
This process, also known as calving, occurs naturally with ice trays, but "recent changes are not familiar in this region" and could destabilize the Brunt ice shelf, Nasa warned.
"The future loss of ice on the other side of the Halloween crack suggests that more instability is possible," said Chris Shuman, a glaciologist at NASA and the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.
Although most measurements indicate that the expected iceberg is large, it is nevertheless overtaken by other recent Antarctic escapements. In July 2017, one of the largest icebergs ever seen from the Larsen C ice platform. At 2,200 square miles, it was almost twice as large as the US state of Delaware.
The long-term future of Antarctic Ice Shelves will have a major influence on sea-level rise worldwide. A report released last year by US and British scientists said the ice was melting at record speed in Antarctica, posing a major threat to coastal cities.
The study found that melting of the icecap had tripled in the past five years. Unless drastic measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, scientists estimate that the melting of Antarctic ice should add more than 25 cm to the total rise in water levels. the sea by 2070.