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Wednesday July 12, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The trillion tonne Larsen C iceberg, approximately 2,200 sqare miles in size has just broken away from Antarctica.

The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km, that is about a quarter the size of Wales or fifty times the size of Manhattan Island.

An US satellite observed the berg on Wednesday while passing over a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

Scientists have been expecting it.

They had been following the development of a large crack in Larsen's ice for more than a decade.

We reported back in June that a 110-mile-long sheet of ice was expected to break away from Antarctica's mainland in the coming weeks due to rapidly warming sea water.

The massive crack on the  Larsen C Ice Shelf finally reached the edge of the Ice Shelf sometime around Wednesday 13th June - see NASA image below.

The New Scientist Journal says it is one of the ten largest icebergs ever recorded to fall off Antarctica.

The calving of the iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, reduces the size of the Larsen C Ice Shelf by around 12 per cent and will change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever, scientists say.

Crack reaches the edge of LarsenC Ice Shelf (Nasa Image)Crack reaches the edge of LarsenC Ice Shelf (Nasa Image)




















Below is an animation that puts context to the size of the Larsen C iceberg.



According to Professor Helen Fricker, the Glaciologists are not particularly alarmed by the calving of the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

Antarctica wants to stay the same size, and to maintain its equilibrium it has to shed some mass that is added over the years by snowfall.

The two nearby, smaller shelves, Larsen A and Larsen B, disintegrated around the turn of the century; and it is thought that a warming climate possibly had a role in their demise.

But Larsen C today does not look like Larsen A or B.

Prof Helen Fricker, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told BBC News:  "The signs we saw at Larsen A and B - we're not seeing yet. The thinning we saw for Larsen A and B - we're not seeing. And we're not seeing any evidence for large volumes of surface meltwater on the order of what you would need to hydro-fracture the ice shelf.

"Most glaciologists are not particularly alarmed by what's going on at Larsen C, yet. It's business as usual."

Listen to Professor Helen Fricker speaking about Iceberg Calving and most specifically Larsen C -

Breaking News on Wednesday - the calving of Larsen C Below:

The video below shows the fractured Larsen C Ice Shelf, that has been monitored by scientists:

The Larsen C Ice Shelf was already afloat and Scientists say it will not affect sea levels now it has calved. 

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