One of the World's Biggest Icebergs Just Broke Off

The chunk from Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is in top 10
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2017 6:21 AM CDT
One of the World's Biggest Icebergs Just Broke Off
This November 2016 aerial photo released by NASA shows a rift in the Antarctic's Larsen C ice shelf.   (John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

The world has a new iceberg, and it's believed to be one of the 10 biggest in history. A huge chunk of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has finally broken off, reports the BBC. A satellite spotted the break on Wednesday, and it probably wasn't difficult: At more than 2,200 square miles, the new iceberg is roughly the size of Delaware. It's expected to be named A68, reports the Guardian, and its creation isn't a surprise. Scientists have been watching the rift on the ice shelf grow for years, a process that accelerated greatly in recent months. The ice shelf is now about 12% smaller, and this tweet from the Project MIDAS research group provides a map.

"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," says a glaciologist at Swansea University in the UK in a blog post from Project MIDAS. "We’re going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable." Because the iceberg has already been essentially floating on its own for a while, no effect on sea levels is immediately expected. A University of Leeds researcher agrees the new iceberg is a "corker," but doesn't sound worried, calling it "business as usual" for the Antarctic. (Read more icebergs stories.)

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