A huge chunk of iceberg that was ever recorded had just broken away from Antarctica. The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km; that’s about a quarter the size of Wales.
The Larsen C ice shelf, one of the biggest icebergs in recorded history is about 6,600 square kilometres in total, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) broke off of the West Antarctic ice shelf.
In a statement the European Space Agency said, “Icebergs calve from Antarctica all the time, but because this one is particularly large its path across the ocean needs to be monitored as it could pose a hazard to maritime traffic.”
As per the research, Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.
They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean. If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres.
An infrared sensor on the American space agency’s Aqua satellite spied clear water in the rift between the shelf and the berg on Wednesday. The water is warmer relative to the surrounding ice and air – both of which are sub-zero.
In 1956, it was reported that a US Navy icebreaker had encountered an object of roughly 32,000 sq km. That is bigger than Belgium. Unfortunately, there were no satellites at the time to follow up and verify the observation.