Two large cracks, Chasm 1 and the ‘Halloween Crack’, are growing on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica and when they meet, a large iceberg around 3 times the size of Leeds (1,594 km2) will break off.
We use satellite images to measure the growth of both cracks on the Brunt Ice Shelf, along with tracking visible features on the ice shelf surface to measure the ice speed.
Chasm1, located on the West side of the Brunt Ice Shelf, lay dormant for 35 years, but in 2012 it showed signs of movement before starting to propagate across the ice shelf. In 2014 the crack began to grow even more rapidly, and is now over 55 km long! There is now only a 5 km bridge of ice between the tip of Chasm 1 and the McDonald Ice Rumples. When it breaks through, a new iceberg will calve.
A second fracture on the Eastern side of the Brunt Ice Shelf, named the ‘Halloween Crack’ because of its discovery on the 31st October 2016, is growing inland away from the McDonald Ice Rumples. Although the Halloween Crack is more recent, it is now also over 60 km long. Watch the drone footage below to fly along the length of the crack!