Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | Updated at 10:30 AM ET

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Petermann Glacier Develops Crack #2: Two Cracks Could Meet Resulting To An Ice Island Twice The Size of Manhattan

First Posted: Apr 20, 2017 06:11 PM EDT
NASA ICE official photo

NASA ICE official photo(Photo : Twitter/NASA ICE)

Petermann Glacier has been closely monitored lately because of a huge crack that has developed right in the middle of the ice island; this is the second crack that has started to form across its surface. NASA has exclusive photos of the glacier and it looks like crack number two could meet crack number one and could slice the glacier in half. The resulting islands would be twice the size of Manhattan.

NASA's Operation IceBridge has been studying ice glacier behaviors in Greenland and the photos it took were stunning. The new crack appears to be very close to the first crack and may even intersect, Live Science reported. However, a phenomenon called a "medial flowline" might just stop the new rift from heading towards the old one. It could save Petermann Glacier from splitting into two.

Petermann Glacier is one of the largest ice islands in Greenland. During the time the glacier broke off from mainland Greenland in 2010, it was called the largest piece of Arctic ice to break free in 50 years. Petermann Glacier was then a subject of a hearing on a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Washington Post reported.

Studies on the size of Petermann Glacier over the years have shown that it has significantly shrunk but has managed to increase in size the past years due to an outward steady flow. However, if the glacier breaks off, its size could shrink dramatically and the break could result in two islands around 50 to 70 square miles in size. These islands could be more than twice the size of Manhattan.

It was also interesting to note that the second crack formed in the middle of Petermann Glacier instead of starting along its sides. Aside from photographing and studying Petermann Glacier, NASA Operation IceBridge is also closely monitoring Heilprin and Upernavik glaciers. These gigantic ice islands are found between northern Greenland and northeastern Canada.

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