Scientists from around the world have kept a close eye on the progression of the great rift that had formed on the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. A couple of weeks ago, a research group which had been monitoring the event said that the rift had only a few more miles to go before it forms the huge iceberg. Now, scientists report that the particular portion has finally detached from Larsen C, resulting in an iceberg which weighs more than a trillion tons.

Iceberg breaks off from Larsen C ice shelf

Geologists had been expecting the rift to progress and break the ice shelf apart for some time.

Project MIDAS scientists have been monitoring the ice shelf, which became the fourth largest in Antarctica after a similar portion of Larsen A ice shelf broke off in 1995. The researchers grew interested in Larsen C after discovering that a rift had formed on the ice shelf and was quickly expanding in the last 12 months.

Experts stated that the large section of the Larsen C ice shelf broke off from it between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12. The resulting iceberg covers an area of around 2,239 square miles and its size has been compared to that of the state of Delaware. The breaking up of the ice shelf has been captured by NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite.

Researchers who studied the progression of the rift had been expecting the iceberg to have been formed much earlier considering the rate at which the rift had been expanding.

However, it seems that the progression slowed down during the final few miles, which is why it took a longer time. Scientists also confirmed that the iceberg has remained intact even after breaking off.

This is normal for icebergs, but what makes this truly extraordinary is its colossal size and weight. The iceberg, most likely to be named A68 by the scientific community, is believed to occupy the volume twice that of Lake Erie and is almost triple the size of the greater London area.

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However, it is still only half the size of the largest iceberg ever to be recorded- the B15.

The B15 measured around 4,250 square miles and broke off from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in 2000. Its size is thought to be similar to that of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica. The new iceberg is not as big as the B15 but is still a very large one.

Climate change and iceberg formation

Even though the iceberg was formed, scientists claim that human induced climate change has very little to do with it. In fact, most researchers feel that this breaking off is a natural phenomenon and is not brought on by global warming. Scientists also do not expect the iceberg to have any adverse effect on the environment as a whole.