One of the Largest Icebergs Ever Recorded Breaks Off From Antarctica

A trillion-ton iceberg a quarter of the size of Wales just broke off Antarctica

A huge iceberg, approximately 6,000 square kilometres in size, has broken off from Antarctica and is now cast adrift in the Weddell Sea, part of the Southern Ocean, the fourth largest ocean in the world.

With an estimated area of around 5,800 square km and a weight of more than a trillion tonnes this is easily one of the 10 largest iceberg's ever recorded.

It was a natural event that wasn't caused by man-made climate change, said Swansea glaciologist Martin O'Leary.

The Larsen C rift began to lengthen in January 2016.

Monitor the development of large cracks in the ice Shelf Larsen took more than ten years.

According to the latest images from NASA's Aqua MODIS satellite, the giant iceberg broke off from the Antarctic ice shelf sometime between Monday and Wednesday.

It's more than twice the size of Luxembourg and contains as much water as all of Lake Ontario. They are called ice shelfs because they act as barriers that keep the land-based ice from flowing into the sea and thus drastically increasing sea levels.

Alas, the Swansea University scientists aren't blaming global warming or climate change just yet.

"The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is hard to predict", said Adrian Luckman, professor at Swansea University and lead investigator of Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf for years.

Previously, he said the iceberg breaking off "will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula".

The iceberg's calving-a term used to describe when ice chunks break from the edge of a glacier-was expected, as scientists had been tracking a fissure in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica for months. For starters, although it's possible for warmer polar temperatures, both in the air above the ice shelf and in the water underneath it, to have sped up the process, icebergs do naturally break off from Antarctica in a process known as calving.

Although the Larsen C ice shelf continues to shed icebergs, some researchers say there is possibility that it may regrow. Scientists fear that if it does collapse, Larsen C could lead to rise in sea level. If the ice shelf suffers further calving, the collapse will not likely happen soon.

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