NASA scientists have been observing two enormous
cracks in Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf which are accelerating towards each
other. When they converge, a piece of ice about 1709 square km in size could break
off the ice shelf. The Brunt Ice Shelf borders the Antarctic coast of Coats
Land between Dawson-Lambton Glacier and Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue.
The two cracks have been named Halloween crack
and Chasm 1. Halloween Crack is growing eastward from an area called McDonald
Ice Rumples. McDonald Ice Rumples is a rocky spot on the ice shelf’s surface.
Chasm 1 is located to the southeast of the McDonald Ice Rumples. It has recently
started accelerating north which will lead to a collision with the Halloween
Once the ice shelf collapses, it could
contribute to the destabilization and possible collapse of the entire Brunt Ice
Shelf. This could lead to possible melting of all the landlocked glaciers that
the shelf is holding and thus contribute to significant sea-level rise.
The instability in the region highly impacts the
Halley Research Station. It is a research facility in Antarctica on the Brunt
Ice Shelf operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).