The Brunt shelf in Antarctica is collapsing at a speed of 5 meters per day

Over the years, glaciologists have tracked a series of fissures on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which borders

coast of Coates Land in the Weddell Sea sector inAntarctica. The elongation of the two main cracks on the ice shelf, separated by only a few kilometers, was closely monitored using satellite imagery. The first chasm, a large crack running north of the southernmost part of Brant, has existed for over 25 years, first discovered on October 31, 2016.

A later unnamed crack was seen inObserving the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission at the end of 2019, it has recently increased by more than 20 km in length. Satellite data has also been used to track movement and measure the resulting deformation of the ice shelf.

Data show that the area of ​​the floating shelfThe glacier north of the new crack is the most unstable, with an approximate movement of almost 5 m per day. The central part has an average speed of 2 to 2.5 m per day, while the lower part indicates a more stable area of ​​the ice shelf.

Strong gradient of ice speed towardsthe faster moving Stancombe Wills ice stream and the ice shelf to the north have activated a new rift that now threatens to release a second large iceberg.

Regular satellite monitoring showshow ice shelves respond to changes in ice dynamics, air and ocean temperatures. Since Antarctica is in darkness during the winter months, radar imagery is necessary because, in addition to the remoteness of the region, radar continues to transmit images regardless of the presence of light.

History shows that the last major event to occur on the Brunt Ice Shelf was in 1971, when some of the ice broke north of the area known as the McDonald Ice Hills.

Since in 2017 the ice shelf wasdeemed unsafe due to invading cracks, the British Antarctic Survey closed its Halley VI research station and relocated south of Halloween Crack to a safer location. In service since 2012, Halley VI consists of eight interconnected containers. This makes it easy to move capsules in case of unstable ice and cracks on the shelf.

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