crack on the Greenland

On April 14, NASA’s airborne mission has picked the snaps of an ominous crack in Petermann Glacier. Stef Lhermitte, a professor from Netherland, has spotted the rare crack by probing the images from the satellite. He has provided the co-ordinates to the IceBridge which is flying over the Greenland from past few days.

NASA has launched IceBridge mission to gather the data about the ice state of the polar. This data provide them an idea how atmospheric conditions and state of the polar ice are changing. The IceBridge normally works over Greenland at these days of the year. These images are so clear that it seems to be the crystal clear day at the glacier.

The NASA’s snaps clearly proved that a major new crack has opened in the center of glaciers ice shelf.  This crack on rare location has raised the question; how it created. Above all, this crack is not too far from another wider and longer chasm. It is slowly moving from its eastern wall towards the shelf’s center. These two cracks are very crystal clear in images taken from the aircraft.

If these two cracks were to cross each other, then a single chasm would flow across the Ice Shelf. If this event happens, the piece may break away.

On the other hand, the NASA has examined another feature known as ‘medial flow line’. It is said to apply a stagnating effect on the flow of the new crack towards the old rift. So, this event should be watched very closely how fast the new crack could undermine the floating ice shelf.

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There are lots of queries about what could happen at this glacier. If we recall, two earlier ice island broke off from it in 2010 and 2012. The island which broke off in 2010 was huge and even drew the media attention. This rare and worrying event was discussed in a hearing before Congress.

At that time, the chairman, Edward said that this huge island is greater than the 4 times the size of Manhattan. This island is the biggest piece of Arctic Ice to break free in almost half a century.

These past breakdowns have downgraded the size of floating ice shelf to a great extent. If we look up at the graph then after the 2010 break up the size of this glacier has reduced significantly. However, before that, it had grown somewhat.

The Lhermitte said that it would be very difficult to predict the reason behind this new crack from these images. This requires more data to find out the real cause behind this event. You can bet that researcher might conduct further study to get the reason and whether this event might bring significant changes to Petermann Glacier.