Two images of the ice shelf, one taken on 30th January 1986, and the other taken on 23rd January 2019, were shared by NASA. The last image shows a long crack that is winding its way from the north to the south. NASA scientists want „to see if the loss will trigger the shelf to further change and possibly become unstable or break up.“
NASA’s Space Flight Center glaciologist, Joe MacGregor, explained that the stability of the entire shelf could be put at risk. The loss of ice in Antarctica has been sped up by global warming. In July 2017, an iceberg size of Delaware separated from the Larsen C Ice Shelf and it is the biggest so far. In October 2017, from the west to east along the top of the Brunt Ice Shelf, a rift was seen extending. Because of the October’s appearance, it has been named Halloween crack.
Scientists worry about the crack traveling northward and claim that it was only a few more miles of lengthening before reaching the Halloween crack. When that happens, an iceberg twice the size of New York City will break off.
The Pine Island Glacier has been breaking off and dumping large quantities of ice into the sea more often than normal, which would affect the sea-level rise.
A glaciologist Chris Shuman for NASA and University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) said: „We don’t have a clear picture of what drives the shelf’s periods of advance and retreat through calving. The likely future loss of the ice on the other side of the Halloween crack suggests that more instability is possible, with associated risk to Halley Via.“
This would be the largest iceberg to beak from the Brunt Ice Shelf.