The Larsen C ice shelf break has sparked groundbreaking research | Science News

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Year in Review

The Larsen C ice shelf break has sparked groundbreaking research

Anticipation of one of the biggest rifts ever detected reached a fever pitch in summer 2017

By
8:30am, December 13, 2017
Larsen C ice shelf break

WIDENING GULF   A Delaware-sized iceberg calved when a crack in the Larsen C ice shelf reached the Weddell Sea this year. In this satellite image from September, rifts are visible in the ice and clouds cast a shadow on the new iceberg.

In 2015, glaciologist Daniela Jansen reported that a large rift was rapidly growing across one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice shelves, known as Larsen C. When the shelf broke, she and colleagues predicted, it would be the largest calving event in decades.

It was. In July, a Delaware-sized iceberg split off from Larsen C  (SN: 8/5/17, p. 6). And researchers knew practically the moment it happened.

After Jansen’s 2015 paper, a U.K.-led group called Project MIDAS began keeping close track of the rift, aided by new data delivered every six

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