During IceBridge mission, NASA has captured a series of images that shows a ginormous crack in the Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. Stef Lhermitte, a professor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who studied satellite remote sensing first spotted the rift and provided the coordinates to NASA that helped NASA capture the images.
Mr. Lhermitte posted the satellite captured images on Twitter. This made Petermann Glacier expedition team alert and made them think whether it was a prelude of a new island, or simply ocean forces creating the rift. The captured images clearly indicated a significant chasm near the center of the glacier’s floating ice shelf. It was observed that the curved rift was gradually shifting from the flank of the shelf towards its center. The image also captured the second crack. If both the cracks meet, it would lead to breaking off the ice shelf, carving an iceberg.
In 2000 and 2001, the glacier lost around 87 square kilometers of the iceberg while in July 2008, it lost another 29 square kilometers. Covering about 1,295 square kilometers along the north-western coast of Greenland, Petermann Glacier’s floating ice tongue is the Northern Hemisphere’s largest, and it has occasionally calved large icebergs.
IceBridge is NASA’s research mission in which data is been collected about the state of the polar ice by instrumenting the aircraft over both the poles – Greenland and Antarctica. IceBridge is currently working on Greenland and captured the crystal-clear day photographs at the glacier. After keenly observing the NASA images, Lhermitte concluded that it was “remarkable to see the rift from nearby after studying it from space for several days.” He further added, “From these images alone, it is difficult to already say anything about what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.”