Here's your first look at a ginormous crack in Western Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, which is a staggering 18 miles long, 240 feet wide and up to 190 feet deep. The crack appears to be widening, and will send off a 300 square mile iceberg in the next few months, according to NASA. Once that happens, the ice shelf that forms the sea-facing side of the glacier will have retreated to its furthest point since researchers started measuring in the 1940s.
This crack is forming in a general location where the ice shelf does tend to form an iceberg every decade or so, and the last one was in 2001. So this isn't exactly a surprise, or an abnormal event. The question, Antarctic researcher Hamish Prichard tells the Christian Science Monitor, is whether the glacier will regrow to its former size this time around — or whether it'll just keep shrinking. Photo by NASA/Associated Press. [Christian Science Monitor and NASA]