The first photographs of a new and ominous crack in Greenland’s enormous Petermann glacier were captured by a NASA airborne mission on Friday.
NASA’s Operation IceBridge, which has been flying over northwest Greenland for the past several days, took the photos after being provided coordinates by Stef Lhermitte, a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, who had spotted it by examining satellite images.
The NASA pictures make clear that a significant new rift has opened in the ice shelf – one that is not so distant from another, much wider and longer crack that has been slowly extending toward the shelf’s center from its eastern side wall. The two cracks are clearly visible in this image taken from the aircraft:
If the two cracks were to intersect, then a single break would run across more than half of the ice shelf. That might, in turn, cause the piece to begin …