09 AUG 2019: Cracks growing across Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf are poised to release a massive iceberg. Stunning drone footage captures Chasm 1, a huge crack on the Brunt Ice Shelf. When it inevitably intersects with the nearby Halloween Crack, an iceberg the size of Houston, Texas will break off into the ocean.

The so-called Halloween crack—first appeared in late October 2016 and continues to grow eastward from an area known as the McDonald Ice Rumples. The rumples are due to the way ice flows over an underwater formation, where the bedrock rises high enough to reach into the underside of the ice shelf.

This rocky formation impedes the flow of ice and causes pressure waves, crevasses, and rifts to form at the surface.

The more immediate concern is the rift visible in the center of the image. Previously stable for about 35 years, this crack recently started accelerating northward as fast as 4 kilometers per year.

It is not yet clear how the remaining ice shelf will respond following the break, posing an uncertain future for scientific infrastructure and a human presence on the shelf that was first established in 1955.

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