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Alert: Larsen C Iceberg Is Tearing Off Antarctica Right Now, June 30, 2017 (+Video)

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A Delaware-Sized Iceberg Is Tearing Off Antarctica Right Now. Scientists still can’t tell when calving will occur – it could be hours, days or weeks.

A giant glacier along Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf is hanging by a thread, poised to break off into the ocean any day now.

It’s one of the largest iceberg calving events scientists have ever witnessed.

It’s been several years since a rift began creeping along the Larsen C ice shelf, located on the eastern rim of the Antarctic peninsula. The icy chasm, over 300 feet wide, grew in fits and starts, at first garnering little attention. Things started heating up last December, when the frosty abyss jumped 11 miles in a matter of weeks, followed by an another six mile growth spurt in January. 

At that point, it was clear Larsen C was gearing up to spit out a giant iceberg. 

The rift remained fairly stable in length for much of the spring, all the while slowly widening. Then, in May, it began to stir again. By the end of the month, the crack had added an additional 11 miles to its length, breaching a zone of “soft suture ice” and terminating eight miles from the sea.

Now, the soon-to-be iceberg is accelerating even more, signaling that “calving is imminent,” according to Project MIDAS. 

On June 29th, the team reported recent observations from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite showing that the growth of the Larsen C rift had tripled in speed between June 24th and June 28th.

 Its outer edge is now moving at “the highest speed ever recorded.”

Clips, images credit: ESA/ Sentinel-1, NASA Earth Observatory

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