Ice Bridge in Antarctic Breaks

An ice bridge linking two Islands in Antarctica has snapped according to scientists.  They say this is evidence of rapid change in the region, and that it could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is breaking away.

Wilkins Ice Shelf via BBC

Wilkins Ice Shelf via BBC

The ice bridge was an important barrier which held the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place. Without the bridge, Charcot and Latady islands are free to move into the open ocean.

European Space Agency satellite pictures revealed cracks in the bridge last week.

This video shows  when the Wilkins Shelf first came under threat of breaking due to the break of the icebridge connecting the Wilkins Shelf to Latady and Charcot

Wilkins Shelf via Eosnap

Wilkins Shelf via Eosnap

Recently formed icebergs were shown floating into the  western side of the peninsula and out to sea.

The peninsula juts up from Antarctica towards the southern tip of South America.


According to a Glaciologist with the British Antarctic Survey who placed a GPS tracker on the ice bridge in January, this breakage has been expected for a few weeks.

He says it was very likely that the ice shelf was to follow.

The breakage is floating and will therefore not affect sea levels directly, it does heighten concerns over the impact of climate change on  this peninsula of Antarctica.

Separate research indicates that after ice shelves move, glaciers and landed ice begin to make their way towards the ocean more rapidly. The glaciers and landed ice are the center of an ongoing scientific debate as to whether this movement increases sea levels.

Shelf Breaks via EOSNAP

Shelf Breaks via EOSNAP

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5 responses to “Ice Bridge in Antarctic Breaks

  1. i agree, ice bridge is important!

  2. “The ice bridge was an important barrier which held the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place. Without the bridge, Charcot and Latady islands are free to move into the open ocean.”

    So, you say!? Charcot and Latady islands are floating islands. How do you figure?

  3. Hey Zen! Thank you for you comment and thank you for checking out NCNI. If you get a chance check out this video made by the European Space Association through their satellite camera. It will show how Latady and Charcot have been affected by the Wilkins Shelf breaking. I have also updated the blog with a youtube version of the video. Also, Wilkins Shelf was connected to Latady and Charcot by an ice bridge. Hope this helps! please feel free to contact me via nocameranointervention@gmail.com. Thank you again for your comments and for checking out the site!

  4. I fail to understand how islands would float away. Perhaps that was a structural geology class I missed.

  5. Hey Zen! Thanks for commenting again. I appreciate your support.

    An ice shelf is an extension of fresh water ice sheets which floats when the depth of water is greater than the depth of the ice. Latady Island and Charcot Island are linked to Antarctica by the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Hope that helps! Thank you for checking out the site!

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