The most recent measurements from this summer put the rift at 124 miles (200 km) long, with the now-calved iceberg hanging on by a thread; just 3 miles (5 km) of ice connected it with the rest of the ice shelf.
Though scientists have been expecting its latest move - which reportedly occurred sometime between Monday, July 10, and Wednesday, July 12 - for a while now, I'm feeling unsettled by the news. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion USA tons).
Map showing iceberg detachment based on data from NASA dated July 12
"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters", he added.
According to MIDAS, a previous ice shelf named Larsen B disintegrated 15 years ago after its own large calving event, and Larsen C may follow suit.More news: SC Constitution bench to hear Aadhaar challenge on privacy issue
The fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica is called Larsen C. It has a surface area of around 20,000 square miles.
Sea levels will not immediately rise, according to Project MIDAS, as A68 was already floating, but further destabilization of the ice shelf could lead to its collapse, which would contribute to rising sea levels.
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"Ocean warming could affect other ice shelves in Antarctica that are holding back massive ice sheets", said Ekwurzel.
One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up. The mission, which makes airborne surveys of changes in polar ice, completed its eighth consecutive Antarctic deployment later that month.
Although it's being considered a "natural event", scientists said the ice shelf is now in an extremely precarious position.More news: ITV plc (LON:ITV) Lowered to Neutral at JP Morgan Chase & Co
While the remaining ice shelf will continue naturally to regrow, previous research has shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift.