Apr 17, 2017 01:06 PM EDT
NASA Discovers Crack In Greenland Glacier & It’s Headed Towards Another Major Rift [Video]
A huge crack in the Greenland glacier bothers scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Apparently, the fissure spreads across the area and is headed to a dangerous collision with another crack.
The NASA scientists captured the first photos of the growing rift while flying over Petermann Glacier. The said area connects the Greenland ice sheet to the Arctic Ocean. The mission was part of the field campaign dubbed as the "Operation IceBridge".
According to Newsy, cracks in a glacier are normal occurrences in the natural world. However, what separates the Greenland glacier crack from other cracks is its location. For one, it appears in the center of the glacier's ice shelf rather than at its edge where damages usually start. More so, it is "relatively close" to a larger rift spreading towards the shelf's center.
If the two cracks meet, then the ice shelf in northwest Greenland may potentially break off. Now, if the ice sheet splits into pieces, a significant rise in sea levels will take place. What is more troubling is that the scientists have not yet identified the cause of the damage. Thus, no solutions are available at the moment.
Nonetheless, a professor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has an intelligent guess. He was also the first to alert NASA regarding the damage seen through polar-orbiting satellites in July 2016. Stef Lhermitte noted in previous media interviews that "ocean forcing" may have caused the rift. Lhermitte further explained that "ocean forcing" is a phenomenon that happens when warm ocean waters melt the ice from below.
Per Mashable, the professor hinted that the same process is responsible for creating cracks in other icy parts of the world. In fact, researchers believe that it is also the cause of deep subsurface chasms in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier. In July 2015, a 20-mile long crack eventually cut the ice from the inside out and resulted to a 225-square-mile iceberg.
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