May 26, 2019 | Updated: 10:32 PM EDT

NASA Photographed Huge Crack In One Of The Largest Glacier In Greenland

Apr 17, 2017 03:02 AM EDT

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NASA takes photos of crack in Greenland glacier
(Photo : Newsy/Youtube) The crack started in the center of an ice shelf, which isn't normal for the Petermann Glacier.

NASA snaps the first photographs of a gigantic crack in Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. On Friday, during the airborne mission, the crack was first noticed by scientists. NASA named this mission as Operation IceBridge, the main purpose of this mission was to fly over the northwest Greenland and take photographs according to coordinates.

Professor Stef Lhermitte from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, first observed the crack while examining the photographs with satellite images. NASA’s latest photographs define that a new rift has opened near the center of the glacier's floating ice shelf. Scientists are now looking for the reason why it is formed in an unusual location.

The Washington Post reported that the crack is getting wider and longer and it is not so distant from another bigger crack. Both cracks are slowly extending toward the shelf's center from its eastern side wall. NASA explained that when those two cracks would intersect then a large slice will be detached from the main ice shelf, and it will cause other pieces to break away.

NASA also found a “Medial flow line” on the ice that has a stagnating effect on the newer rift. It helps to slow down the propagation towards the older one. According to Mashable, those two cracks were started breaking off since 2010 and 2012 and the 2010’s crack was the largest that seek attentions of scientists and media.

Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Edward Markey said at the opening of the hearing in summer 2010,“This giant ice island is more than four times the size of Manhattan. It is the largest piece of Arctic ice to break free in nearly half a century”. During Operation IceBridge, NASA’s aircraft also captured the images of other nearby glaciers, such as Heilprin and Upernavik.

NASA also analyzed the floating sea ice in the channel between northwestern Greenland and northeastern Canada. Lhermitte responded, seeing the images that after studying it from space it is really amazing to see the rift closely, but it is still difficult to answer what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.

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