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Scientists have announced that the massive Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctic is expected to break any day now. The Larsen C Ice Shelf located on the edge of West Antarctica is about 217 miles thick and one of the largest ice shelves on the continent. Scientists believe that if it is to break it could produce one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.
While large cracks in ice shelves like this one usually happen slowly and over time, the rate at which the Larsen C Ice Shelf is breaking is leaving scientists worried. Experts say that though the crack has been growing for a while now, it has grown 10 miles between May 25 and May 31 alone, reaching the highest speeds ever recorded. Once the iceberg, that makes up about 10 percent of the Larsen C Ice Shelf breaks, it will change the landscape of Antarctic Peninsula dramatically.
Although experts believe that the calving of this iceberg will not contribute to drastic changes in sea level it could leave the whole Larsen C Ice Shelf unstable. If the ice shelf becomes unstable enough, it could release a domino effect, accelerating the number of glaciers flowing from land to water, which could lead to changes in sea level. The large ice shelf may end up much like its neighboring Ice Shelf Larson B that disintegrated in 2002, which left the water still flowing faster than before to this day.
Although many people believe global warming has pushed this ice burg to its breaking point and contributed to the disintegrations of Larson A and Larson B, scientists say there is no known link between the temperature change and this large crack. While the iceberg is still holding on by a thread, for now, scientists believe that the calving of this massive iceberg is imminent and could be anywhere from weeks to hours until it breaks.