Massive cracks on the Antarctic ice floe Brunt will release an iceberg the size of a city in the Atlantic Ocean. The terrifying news comes after NASA's satellite imagery has identified growing cracks, first observed in 2016. NASA has now warned that the countdown will begin for an iceberg twice as big as the city of New York. Scientists still do not know what impact this will have on the rest of the pack ice.
But this breakaway could be catastrophic for research stations and scientists in Antarctica.
In particular, the British Antarctic Survey is stationed on the Brunt Ice Shelf at the Halley Research Station – the station that discovered the ozone hole in 1985.
NASA said: "The cracks that are developing on the Antarctic ice shelf Brunt are about to release an iceberg that is about twice the size of New York.
"The reaction of the remaining pack ice after the break is not yet clear, which poses an uncertain future for the scientific infrastructure and a human presence on the platform, created in 1955."
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The US space agency revealed its satellite images captured by Landsag 8, on January 23, 2019, by Operational Land Imager (OLI).
The scary picture shows deep cracks that cross the colossal ice.
Nicknamed "The Halloween crack", scientists have observed the disturbing damage at the end of October 2016.
The crack has since pushed its way east, increasing the amount of ice that will come off.
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The space agency said: "The crack at the top of the image – the so-called Halloween crack – appeared at the end of October 2016 and continues to grow eastward from an area known as from McDonald's Ice Rumples.
"The rumors are due to the way the ice flows on an underwater formation, where the bedrock rises high enough to reach the bottom of the pack ice.
"This rock formation prevents the flow of ice and causes the formation of pressure waves, crevices and cracks on the surface."
As NASA's satellite photo shows, the most worrying problem is a flaw in the center of the image.
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NASA said the crack has remained stable over the past 35 years but has begun to accelerate further north recently.
The crack is currently expanding at a rate of nearly 4 km per year.
Such a calving process is a natural process that affects ice trays, but the recent changes are unprecedented.
NASA said: "The edge of the Brunt Sea Ice has evolved slowly since Ernest Shackleton surveyed the coast in 1915, but it has accelerated in recent years."
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The before and after photos shared by NASA's Earth Observatory show how much the pack ice has changed over the years.
The pack ice itself has spread into the water, but the cracks are also crossing it.
According to Joe MacGregor, a NASA glaciologist, what follows is entirely dependent on the fusion of existing cracks.
The expert at the iceberg said: "If they are getting upstream of McDonald's ice rumors, it's possible the pack ice is destabilized."