Massive iceberg breaks off Arctic shelf - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Massive iceberg breaks off Arctic shelf

Larsen C ice shelf crack Larsen C ice shelf crack
Iceberg comparison to the Grand Canyon Iceberg comparison to the Grand Canyon
(WMC) -

Scientists have been closely monitoring a massive 120 mile crack in the Larsen C ice shelf located on the Antarctic Peninsula.  

Thursday morning, a massive iceberg broke off the peninsula and is now adrift in the Southern Ocean. 

The iceberg is roughly the size of Delaware and is more than a trillion tons of ice.  

It it were spread out over the United States it would leave a 4.6 inch coat of ice on all 50 states.  If the ice formed a sphere, it would be more than eight miles high extending into the stratosphere.  

The break, or calving as it called, is about 12 percent of the Larsen C ice shelf. The Larsen C ice shelf is a floating area of ice off the Antarctic landmass that acts as a doorstop of sorts for the area's glaciers and land ice.  

Breaks in ice shelves are common, but one of this size is extremely rare. The massive iceberg has no direct impact on our lives but it could disrupt shipping lanes off the southern tip of South America.  

NASA is tracking the iceberg in order to study its path and the effect if any that if may have on the remaining Larsen C ice shelf.  

At this time, many scientists believe this to be a natural occurrence, but a few scientists believe this to be related to rising global temperatures.   

In comparison, the Larsen B in 2002 and the Wilkens ice shelf in 2008 both saw huge icebergs break off due largely to warming waters.

The Larsen B collapsed shortly after a major calving event while the Wilkins ice shelf has continued to shed large chunks of ice since 2008.

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