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80 mph speed record for glacier fracture helps reveal the physics of ice sheet collapse

Illustration of an iceberg with a rift extending from the above water surface to well below under the water

There’s enough water frozen in Greenland and Antarctic glaciers that if they melted, global seas would rise by many feet. What will happen to these glaciers over the coming decades is the biggest unknown in the future of rising seas, partly because glacier fracture physics is not yet fully understood. A critical question is how warmer oceans might cause glaciers to break apart more quickly. 

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