Cracking glaciers

A chunk of ice covering 11 square miles is poised to break away from the Petermann glacier in Northern Greenland and melt into the ocean, scientists reported on August 21.

Researchers spotted a crack seven miles long and half a mile wide in Petermann while examining satellite images, science reporter Seth Borenstein reported in his AP story. The crack is about half the width of the floating portion of Petermann, which covers 500 square miles.

Jason Box, a glacier expert at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University who spotted the crack, said a collapse is “imminent.”

Jay Zwally, a NASA ice scientist, characterized the changes as a “major event.” Scientists are loath to attribute any single event to the globe’s rise in average global temperatures. But climate experts agree that the dramatic collapse of large sections of glaciers could fit a pattern of changes being driven by a warming world.

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