A much anticipated incident by scientists has happened, and it is in the form of having a huge part of the Larsen C Ice Shelf break away from western Antartica . And not only this, but this huge chunk of ice is actually one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded!
This part of the ice shelf is about 5,800 square kilometres, or roughly about four times the size of London.
This event happened between July 10 to 12, 2017, and later confirmed through thermal infrared satellite images.
Scientists have been keeping a close eye on this ice shelf, as the event of its breaking off happened gradually throughout the years.
Professor Adrian Luckman, the lead investigator for Project MIDAS, which is one of the projects closely monitoring the ice shelf’s status states that, “If it doesn’t go in the next few months, I’ll be amazed. We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometres of ice.”
Professor Luckman also adds that, “We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg.”
Apparently, the crack dramatically grew in size starting in 2010, and has since lengthened to more than 200 kilometres up until 2017. The crack grew in spurts because of the changes in density of the ice it passed through.
The Larsen Ice Shelf is actually designated as different clusters of shelves which have cracked and have been breaking up since the 1990s. The Larsen A ice shelf broke off in 1995, while the Larsen B shelf broke off suddenly in 2002.