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Glacier found to be deeply cracked

Fissures in Alaska ice raise questions about future movements

Pressure and stress can lead to a crack-up, or several, if you are a glacier. Researchers have discovered a system of deep cracks extending from the ground up into the overlying ice of southern Alaska’s Bench Glacier. The crevasses are described in the Sept. 30 Nature.

The scientists aren’t certain how widespread such cracks are, how long the fissures persist or how glacier movement might be influenced. The cracks hold a considerable amount of water and could help scientists better predict how and when glaciers move and melt, which in turn could affect how much sea levels rise in the future.

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