It is clear from the photo above that we see a stress crack, not a melt. Now we have a time lapse satellite photo series of the Wilkins ice shelf that shows the process of currents and winds causing those stresses.
Mike McMillan writes:
Fox News is reporting that the Wilkins ice shelf bridge that’s been eroding has finally collapsed.
I went back to the old ESA sat photos and noticed something interesting. I downloaded the gif animation and did some highlighting.
In the upper area, the shelf was previously fractured, then glued together by new ice. I highlighted a string of drift ice in green to show what the currents were doing during the previous collapse. The current runs down from the top, compressing the fractured shelf and likely busting up the new ice glue. The current then reverses, pulling the fractured shelf ice out to sea. The green drift ice looks almost like a fingertip crunching into the shelf, and clearly shows the compression.
A different process works on the lower side of the ice bridge. A gyre pulls
off chunks of unfractured ice. I’ve highlighted a chunk of non-edge ice in
pink, and we can watch it tumble out along with a companion berg. Note the
sea immediately refreezes in the open areas. One of the gif frames shows the
gyre swirling the new ice, and I’ve enlarged the frame.
UPDATE: I slowed down the original animation to 1 frame per second, with a 2 second pause at end, per requests in comments. -Anthony