Record-breaking Gigantic Iceberg Snaps Off Antarctica
The Larsen-C ice shelf weighs one trillion tons and creates a risk for ships in the region.
One of the biggest icebergs on record has officially broken away from Antarctica, according to Reuters and scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.
“The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict,” Adrian Luckman, a professor at Swansea University and lead investigator on a project monitoring the ice shelf told Reuters. “It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters,” he added.
Scientists: Massive iceberg has broken off in Antarctica https://t.co/X3BJVsSq4F pic.twitter.com/oQc7Z48PPs
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 12, 2017
This creates a new risk for ships, Reuters notes because although it is outside of normal trade routes, it is a top destination for cruise ships from South America. In 2009, the MTV Explorer sank after slamming into an iceberg in the area. More than 150 passengers and crew were rescued.
In addition to creating a navigational nightmare, any further collapse of Larsen-C would contribute to sea level rise.
“In the ensuing months and years, the ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may suffer further calving events which may eventually lead to collapse – opinions in the scientific community are divided,” Luckman told Reuters.
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