Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ice Bridge of the Wilkins Ice Shelf Shatters

Within a period of only 48 hours the ice bridge that appears to hold the Connecticut-sized Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula went from being intact to shattering. Glaciologist David Vaughan with the British Antarctic Survey told Reuters that “It’s amazing how the ice has ruptured.” Vaughn told BBC News that the ice shelf was stable for a long period time but began to retreat during the 1990s. He said that “The fact that it’s retreating and now has lost connection with one of its islands is really strong indication that the warming of the Antarctic is having an effect on yet another ice shelf.” So far during the past 50 years six ice shelves in this area of Antarctica have completely collapsed. According to Vaughn, the Wilkins Ice Shelf is soon likely to be the seventh.

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