Journal Highlights

Bands of extra-tough ice slow down cracks in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf

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The stability of the Antarctic Peninsula’s largest ice shelf may depend upon stripes of extremely strong ice running down its spine, a new study finds.

New research shows rifts in the Larsen C ice shelf tend to stop when they hit parts of the ice known as suture zones. Suture zones are bands of ice several kilometers wide running from the grounding line out to sea that are made of ice from different glaciers and sea water that have frozen together.

The new study finds the large crack currently winding its way across Larsen C takes much longer to punch through suture zones than through other types of ice, meaning these zones are far more important in holding ice shelves together than previously thought, according to the authors…more

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