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October 11 2012

Glaciers Cracking in the Presence of Carbon Dioxide


The well-documented presence of excessive levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is causing global temperatures to rise and glaciers and ice caps to melt.

New research, published October 11, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, has shown that CO2 molecules may be having a more direct impact on the ice that covers our planet.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology have shown that the material strength and fracture toughness of ice are decreased significantly under increasing concentrations of CO2 molecules, making ice caps and glaciers more vulnerable to cracking and splitting into pieces, as was seen recently when a huge crack in the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica spawned a glacier the size of Berlin.

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