Scientists on Wednesday announced one of the planet’s largest icebergs ever recorded is breaking off an ice shelf in Antarctica soon.
“In another sign that the iceberg calving is imminent, the soon-to-be-iceberg part of Larsen C Ice Shelf has tripled in speed to more than 10 meters per day between June 24th and June 27th,” scientist Adrian Luckman said, according to USA Today.
“The iceberg remains attached to the ice shelf, but its outer end is moving at the highest speed ever recorded on this ice shelf,” added Luckman, who works at Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project that’s monitoring the Larsen C crack.
“We still can’t tell when calving will occur – it could be hours, days or weeks. [The new iceberg] will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.”
Twitter users on Wednesday voiced excitement that the 110-mile long crack in the Larsen C ice shelf may soon break into an iceberg.
Luckman said that studying ice shelves and icebergs is crucial as they “hold back the glaciers that ‘feed’ them.”
“When they disappear, ice can flow faster from the land to the ocean and contribute more quickly to sea level rise,” he added.
Ice shelves are permanent floating sheets of ice that connect to a land mass, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Any newly created iceberg will reportedly not add to rising sea levels as the ice is already floating.
Project MIDAS on Wednesday said there is no evidence tying together the rift’s growth and the ultimate calving to climate change.
Regional temperatures could rise up to 7 degrees more by the century’s end, according to Climate Central, placing more stress on ice there.