Huge Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf

Huge Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf

The new iceberg, which will likely be called A68, is around 2,239 square miles.

The calving, which was revealed Wednesday by Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom, occurred sometime between Monday and Wednesday this week, when a 5,800-square-kilometer section of Larsen C finally broke away.

The iceberg weighs an estimated 1.12 trillion tons and is approximately the size of Delaware.

The newly unmoored behemoth of an iceberg could be around for many years, depending on how quickly it breaks apart and drifts northward into slightly warmer waters.

'We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg.

Luckman added, "We have no evidence to link this directly to climate change, and no reason to believe that it would not have happened without the extra warming that human activity has caused".

The Larsen C ice shelf, the fourth largest in Antarctica, was long suspected to be on the verge of breaking off as hinted by an expanding deep crack.

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According to scientists, Larsen C is now at its smallest extent and about 10 other shelves further to the north along the Peninsula have either collapsed or retreated significantly in recent decades.

But it removed more than 10 percent of the ice shelf, and if that eventually hastens the flow of glaciers behind it into the water, there could be a "very modest" rise in sea level, the project said.

A one trillion tonne iceberg has broken off from an Antarctic ice shelf, changing the shape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever. The collapse of the ice shelf began on the Eastern front, Antarctica in 2014.

"Ice shelves float, so they do not directly contribute to sea level rise", read a report on the NASA Earth Observatory website.

Scientists have also been monitoring it using the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite, which employs a radar sensor to see through cloud cover and the extended dark of night at the South Pole. But unlike the icebergs that form from the ice shelf, the ice sheet behind it is over land.

"This calving is dramatic but normal in the life cycle of an ice shelf", said the British Antarctic Survey.

"This puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position", said Dr. Martin O'Leary, a member of the MIDAS project team.

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