Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica
acquired February 21, 2000 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 2250x2231)

Warmer surface temperatures over just a few months in the Antarctic can splinter an ice shelf and prime it for a major collapse, NASA and university scientists report in the latest issue of the Journal of Glaciology.

Using satellite images of tell-tale melt water on the ice surface and a sophisticated computer simulation of the motions and forces within an ice shelf, the scientists demonstrated that added pressure from surface water filling crevasses can crack the ice entirely through. The process can be expected to become more widespread if Antarctic summer temperatures increase.

This true-color image from Landsat 7, acquired on February 21, 2000, shows pools of melt water on the surface of the Larsen Ice Shelf, and drifting icebergs that have split from the shelf. The upper image is an overview of the shelf’s edge, while the lower image is displayed at full resolution of 30 meters (98 feet) per pixel. The labeled pond in the lower image measures roughly 1.6 by 1.6 km (1.0 x 1.0 miles).

Full text of Press Release
More Images and Animations

Image courtesy Landsat 7 Science Team and NASA GSFC

Landsat 7 - ETM+

Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

January 17, 2001
More Images of the Day
Winter Snowfall Turns Ireland White High Resolution View of Amazonia
More in this Event (view all)
Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapse Fragments of Larsen B Ice Shelf Lingered Until 2005 Operation IceBridge Returns to Antarctica Last Call for Larsen B Crack Advances Across Antarctic Ice Shelf Close Look at a Crack on Larsen C Antarctica’s Changing Larsen Ice Shelf The Most Studied Peninsula on Antarctica The Making of an Iceberg A Crack of Light in the Polar Dark Antarctic Ice Shelf Sheds Massive Iceberg Landsat Spots Birth of Iceberg A-68 A Fracturing Berg in the Polar Night Daylight Returns to Larsen C A-68 Adrift