The Pine Island Glacier, one of the Antarctic areas with the fastest melting rate, has been found to have broken from the inside out, which led to the appearence of a rift.
Global warming and the melting of the Antarctic ice have long since become quite common subjects amongst specialists.
As new studies revealed the increased melting rates of the polar ice caps and also its thinning layers, global authorities have been trying to come up with a solution.
A new study will be adding to the list of dangers and endangered areas as recent research has discovered a new ice issue.
Researchers have discovered that the Pine Island Glaciers is literally breaking apart. The study was approved and will be published in the Geographical Research Letters journal.
The study of the area was based on satellite images of the area taken over the course of time. One of its studies was to determine what caused the 2015 iceberg break off.
Back in mid-2015, a 225-square mile iceberg structure broke off from a Pine Island Glacier. The current study found that the cause of the separation had even earlier origins.
It was determined that it was most likely based on an event which occurred some two years earlier and which took place in the center of the ice sheet.
Ice rifts are not an uncommon occurrence as they usually appear at the edges of an ice sheet, where the ice is thinner.
However, the 2015 Pine Island rift occurred in the center of the sheet, some 20 miles inland. It was determined that the respective area had a much thinner ice when compared to its surroundings.
The study’s lead author Ian Howat, an Ohio State University researcher went to explain the event.
According to Howat, although the respective rift took place in the center of the glacier, its effects propagated and reached the outer margins.
It would also seem to point out that something happened so as to melt and thin out the Pine Island Glacier center.
The most probable explanation for this event, as pointed out by the researcher, is the melting of a crevasse.
The inside out breaking was most probably caused by the melting of a crevasse situated at a bedrock level. Furthermore, this could have been determined by the warming waters of the ocean.
As it is known to have one of the highest melting rates, the Pine Island Glacier has another natural disadvantage.
The respective ice sheet is believed to be even more vulnerable than other areas as it has an inland downwards slope.
Such a downwards slope advantages the formation of valleys, which usually lie beneath the sea levels.
As the 2015 break-off went to show, such a valley could, at any time, cause more serious consequences. Their precarious structure could determine future inside out collapses of the ice sheets.
Howat went to state that if these valleys are proven to be actual weakness spots, researchers should expect further rifts and other potential consequences.
They could also come to expect an even faster rate of glacier retreat as the ice could come to collapse on its itself.
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