100-Mile-Long Crack in Antarctic Ice Shelf Keeps Growing By Kacey Deamer

Article Summary: A widening crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf has caused a huge iceberg to move closer towards breaking free from Antarctica. This ice shelf is cut through by a growing rift; scientists have discovered that the iceberg will break definitely break off, but they are unaware of when this will take place.

“It’s not a matter of if the iceberg will break off… but when, scientists warn.” (Deamer)

Researchers have found out that when the ice shelf does detach from Antarctica, it will essentially change the Antarctic Peninsula’s landscape. They have also stated that this new “configuration will be less stable prior to the rift.” This ice shelf is one of the South Pole's fourth-largest; it prevents many land-based glaciers from moving towards the ocean. If this shelf continues to deteriorate, it will not be able to hold back these "slow-flowing glaciers"."

The Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica

While this crack in the ice shelf is not directly caused by human activity, it does contribute to the decrease in glaciers and increasing ocean level. Once this ice shelf breaks off, it "will lose more than 10 percent of its area — about 2,000 square miles (5,000 square km)." As this ice shelf deteriorates, it will add more water to the ocean and cause the surface areas of glaciers to decrease. This can cause becoming a problem from many animals inhabited in these areas, and the rising water level can become a problem for costal regions.

While there is nothing we can do to prevent this ice shelf from breaking free from Antarctica, there are steps we can take to prevent our contribution to melting glaciers and increased ocean levels.

What can we do to help the problem?

Humans burn an abundant amount of fossil fuels to carry out daily activities, such as fueling cars and powering electricity. The burning of these fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases into the environment, ultimately "warning" our planet. This causes ice and glaciers in places such as Antarctica to melt. We can help fix this problem by burning less fossil fuels: we can drive less, carpool with others, turn off lights when we aren't in a room, unplug things from outlets that aren't being used, etc. We can also switch to cleaner energy to help reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burnt.

Overall, we cannot prevent this ice shelf from breaking free from Antarctica. That being said, there are actions we can take to lessen our negative impact on areas similar to this one.

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