Image of the Week - New Rift on Greenland's Petermann Glacier

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Detailed Description

A new rift is forming across the Petermann Glacier. If this rift connects to existing rifts, it could result in another large iceberg breaking free.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (


Date Taken:

Length: 00:00:51

Location Taken: Petermann Glacier, GL


A new rift has been forming
on Petermann Glacier,

Greenland, throughout 2017.
It’s forming near the center

of the glacier, which is an
unusual place for cracks to form.

Images from Landsat 8 and
Sentinel-2A, acquired

on the same day, show these
rifts. Sentinel’s 10 meter

resolution shows the
rift in more detail. 

The vertical line could be
from bedrock further upstream.

Other bumps and lines
extending from this line

are stress fractures
from the glacial movement.

An older crack to the right
of the new rift also seems

to be extending, reaching
toward the glacier’s center.

If this rift meets the older
crack to the right, it

would be the third large
iceberg to break off

Petermann since 2010.