A gigantic iceberg, that last month was hanging on to the Antarctic Peninsula for dear life, has ultimately broken off and begun drifting out to sea.
The 6 000 sq km behemoth is one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, with a massive crack beginning the ‘calving’ process a few years ago.
According to The Guardian, the crack grew a whopping 17km between the 25th and 31st of May alone. The massive chunk of ice, which is twice the volume of Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes, is now floating freely in the Weddell Sea.
While it won’t contribute significantly to a rise in seal levels, the break may have implications for climate change in general.
“Certainly the changes that we see on ice shelves, such as thinning because of warmer ocean waters, are the sort [of changes] that are going to make it easier for these events to happen,” says glacier expert Twila Moon, speaking to The Guardian.
Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University disagrees, however, saying that the ice shelf is in fact thickening, implying that climate change may not be at fault.
Regardless, the iceberg serves as a grim reminder of the fragility of the environment around us, no matter how immense it may be.
These tweets more effectively explain the phenomenon:
Breaking news! The iceberg has fully detached from Larsen C - more details to follow soon pic.twitter.com/pdSxDuAGjR— Project MIDAS (@MIDASOnIce) July 12, 2017
To give a sense of the true dimensions of the Larsen C iceberg, here's an animation based on real data, with something familiar for scale pic.twitter.com/OdQA07qhBb— Adrian Luckman (@adrian_luckman) July 12, 2017