A giant iceberg larger than Rhode Island is set to break off of Antarctica, British scientists announced Friday. If it occurs, it would be one of the biggest icebergs on record.
Scientists have been keeping a close eye on a crack in an Antarctica ice shelf that could break off, creating an iceberg and indirectly lead to rising sea levels.
The crack grew by 11 miles in December. Only a final 12 miles of ice now connects the iceberg to its parent ice shelf, according to Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project.
The crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf is more than 1,000 feet wide and has grown by 50 miles since 2011, according to the British Antarctic Survey. Once the crack goes all the way across, the iceberg will break off.
“If it doesn’t go in the next few months, I’ll be amazed,” project leader Adrian Luckman of Swansea University told BBC News. It would be among the top 10 biggest icebergs ever recorded.
“There’s no need for alarm,” however, according to a tweet from Project Midas. “This is a fairly normal event, although it is spectacular and quite rare,” the tweet said.
Global warming may have caused the likely separation of the iceberg but the scientists say they have no direct evidence to support this, the BBC said.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice