The 180-kilometer-long crack threatening one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves has branched out, new satellite observations reveal. The main rift in the Larsen C ice shelf hasn’t grown longer since February. But radar mapping shows that a crack has split off from the main rupture like a snake’s forked tongue, members of Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research group, report May 1. That new branch, about 15 kilometers long, wasn’t on radar maps taken six days earlier, the team says.
If either branch makes it to the edge of Larsen C, the shelf could calve off a 5,000-square-kilometer hunk of ice (SN: 7/25/15, p. 8), creating one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, says