Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica

Scientists say an iceberg the size of Bali, Indonesia has broken away from the continent of Antarctica.

The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, measures 5,800 square kilometers and weighs over one trillion tons, making it one of the biggest on record.

The process of the iceberg breaking off, known as calving, occurs naturally, although global warming is believed to have accelerated the event. The glacial mass has been breaking away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf for months.

The iceberg was already floating before it broke away, so there is no immediate impact on sea levels. Scientists say it could, however, pose risks to ships now that it has broken off. Although it is outside major trade routes, the peninsula is a popular destination for cruise ships visiting from South America.

Larsen C is called an ice shelf because, while it is still attached to land, it is already floating off the coast of northwestern Antarctica. The Larsen Ice Shelf is a series of three interconnected formations that grew out from the Antarctic Mainland over tens of thousands of years.

Larsen A, the most northern of the three segments, and the smallest, broke free from the mainland in 1995.

The larger Larsen B Ice Shelf, an estimated 3,200 square kilometers of ice with an average thickness of 220 meters, disintegrated into the sea in 2002.


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