In December 2016, NASA reported that a huge crack in the massive continent appeared on satellite imagery. At the time, it was reportedly 300 feet wide and stretched for 70 miles.
The massive crack is in Larsen C, a shelf floating off the Antarctic Peninsula.
Back in May, it was reported that all that was keeping the nearly 2,000 square mile piece of ice from floating way was 12 miles of ice, and scientists said it wasn’t likely to hold for much longer.
Experts warned that when the crack eventually spread across the entire ice shelf, it would create an iceberg the size of the state of Delaware.
Now that has finally happened.
While calving of icebergs is not unusual, at a trillion tons, this is one of the largest ever recorded.
It covers an area of roughly 2,300 square miles – more than twice the size of Luxembourg, and seven times the size of New York City.
Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, according to Project MIDAS, a research group based in Britain.
Dr. Martin O’Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and member of the MIDAS project team, said of the recent calving:
“Although this is a natural event, and we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position. This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history. We’re going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable.”
The remaining ice shelf will continue to grow naturally, and the new iceberg isn’t expected to impact shipping.
Project MIDAS concludes,
Whilst this new iceberg will not immediately raise sea levels, if the shelf loses much more of its area, it could result in glaciers that flow off the land behind speeding up their passage towards the ocean. This non-floating ice would have an eventual impact on sea levels, but only at a very modest rate.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”