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Giant iceberg, 5,000 square kilometers, set to calve from Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

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British Antarctic Survey ScienceDaily 06 Jan 2017   see full article here

A huge iceberg looks set to break away from the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. Satellite observations from December 2016 show a growing crack in the ice shelf which suggests that an iceberg with an area of up to 5,000 square kilometers [size of Delaware] is likely to calve soon……..An ice shelf is a floating extension of land-based glaciers which flow into the ocean. Because they already float in the ocean, their melting does not directly contribute to sea-level rise. However, ice shelves act as buttresses holding back glaciers flowing down to the coast. Larsen A and B ice shelves, which were situated further north on the Antarctic Peninsula, collapsed in 1995 and 2002, respectively. This resulted in the dramatic acceleration of glaciers behind them, with larger volumes of ice entering the ocean and contributing to sea-level rise….

The crack through Larsen C ice shelf is visible as a dark line from bottom right to top left of this satellite image. Image captured on 26 October 2016.
Credit: Image courtesy of British Antarctic Survey…
More from Washington Post:
The crack in this Antarctic ice shelf just grew by 11 miles. A dramatic break could be imminent.
An enormous rift in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves grew dramatically over the past month, and a chunk nearly the size of Delaware could break away as soon as later this winter, British scientists reported this week. Washington Post.  Jan 08

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