A large portion of an ice shelf that was said to be “hanging by a thread” last month has broken off from the Antarctic mainland, creating one of the world’s largest icebergs according to a Wednesday report by British Antarctic research group Project MIDAS.
The iceberg, which is estimated to have separated from Larsen C ice shelf between Monday and Wednesday, will be named A68. It weighs one trillion tons and contains twice the volume of water held in Lake Erie, the report said. It is 5,800 square kilometers, making it nearly twice the size of Rhode Island.
The ice shelf’s calving has been expected for some time. Project MIDAS wrote that is was “watching with bated breath” after the rift separating the iceberg from the main shelf grew 11 miles in six days in late May. At the time, lead investigator of Project MIDAS Adrian Luckman wrote that the separation of the ice shelf would “fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.”
Here’s a look at images of the threatened ice shelves and glaciers of the South Pole.