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Hydrofracture describes a result by the pressure of freezing water.

Ice Shelves

Based on a 2020 assessment, in Antarctica between 50 to 70 percent of ice shelfs that buttress the ice sheet are prone to hydrofracturing. When by atmospheric warming surface meltwater on ice sheets, which is heavier than ice, flows into and enlarges fractures it can potentially trigger ice-shelf collapse, and in turn threatens to accelerate the retreat of the Antarctic Ice Sheet - the ice flow and contribution to sea-level rise.[1]

See also


  1. Lai, CY., Kingslake, J., Wearing, M.G. et al. (2020) Vulnerability of Antarctica’s ice shelves to meltwater-driven fracture Nature