Trillion ton iceberg breaks away from Antarctic shelf

Trillion ton iceberg breaks away from Antarctic shelf
# 12 July 2017 18:32 (UTC +04:00)

A section of ice roughly the size of the state of Delaware has broken off from the Antarctic ice shelf, a group of scientists said Wednesday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

The 2,200-square-mile (5,800-square-kilometer) iceberg, which weighs more than 1 trillion tons, is one of the largest ever recorded.

Project MIDAS, the group of scientists that announced the development, said the newly-formed iceberg has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the U.S. Great Lakes, but is not expected to affect sea levels as it was already floating before it broke off.

Scientists said its formation cuts the size of the shelf by more than 12 percent.

The iceberg may remain unified but could break into smaller icebergs, professor Adrian Luckman, the project's lead investigator, said in a statement.

"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," Luckman said.

While the remaining ice shelf will continue to regrow, the group warned its new formation could be less stable than it was prior to the dramatic loss.

"This puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position," said Dr. Martin O’Leary, a member of the MIDAS project team. "This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history."

Sea levels could be affected "at a very modest rate" if glaciers flow off land at an accelerated rate if the shelf continues to lose area, Project MIDAS said.