A humungous chunk of ice broke off from Antarctica sometime from this Monday to Wednesday, scientists say. The piece is now floating freely in the Weddel Sea.

It takes a long time for an iceberg that size to detach from its origin. It weighs about 1 trillion tons and is considered as one of the largest chunks of water ice in history. Despite its size, experts say it will not cause any threat or sea level rise.

Breaking Icebergs

However, the change may take its toll in the continent's profile in the next few decades. This also signifies how climate change can cause future changes and problems to the planet. Scientists from Project Midas composed of researchers from the Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain made the announcement about the iceberg.

The researchers confirmed that the iceberg broke from Antarctica by using the data collected by NASA satellites. The group has been monitoring the activities of the ice shelf "Larsen C" for years. But it was only last January when drastic changes occurred rapidly. The rift increased in length up to 120 miles. This caused the massive ice sheet to hang by a thread that looked like it will break into fragments. Earlier this week, their fear happened when it broke off from the main body.

But the situation does not end here. Researchers are worried about the potential effect of the massive piece of ice free-floating at sea. They said it is impossible to predict what will happen to the iceberg next, whether or not will it break or remain as one piece.

Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, the project’s lead investigator predicted that some parts may drift into warmer waters while some may remain in ice form for decades.

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Who caused it?

Although the incident could be attributed to the changes in the temperature of the planet, it doesn't mean that man-made climate change contributed to the incident. The warming of the Antarctic Peninsula has been going on since the second half of the 20th century, therefore it is a bit more difficult to tell who caused it. Some studies even suggested that the warming of the planet may have been reversed in the past few years.

Meanwhile, some experts say that it is normal for solid ice to break off naturally. Martin O’Leary, a Project Midas glaciologist said that the iceberg naturally breaking away is called "calving". He also said that there is no human-induced climate change being linked to the incident just yet.

Despite what seems to be an alarming incident, scientists say that they can benefit from it by studying how the iceberg moves. This will help them analyze ice shelves fractures giving them a better glimpse to observe how sea level rise and air temperature affects the area.

Experts say it could also be just the beginning as some of the world's largest chunks of ice may also be undergoing the same process. The most common result of the incident is melting ice. When this happens, flood gates are supposed to be opened, according to Eric Rignot a glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.