Scientists observing the rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica have reported dramatic cracking over the past week. The rift has grown a startling 11 miles (17 km) over the last seven days, bringing it to within eight miles (13 km) of breaking off and producing one of the largest ever recorded icebergs.
A UK-based research team called Project MIDAS has been studying the growing rift on the Larsen C Ice Shelf for several years now, but over the past few months it has recorded significant new cracking. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is set to follow its neighbors, Larsen A and B, which splintered in 1995 and 2002, respectively, but this iceberg is set to be larger than the two resulting from those two events.
Because these ice shelves are already floating on water their release will not directly contribute to a global sea level rise, but they do represent dramatic land mass shifts occurring at a rapid pace in West Antartica. The Project MIDAS researchers raise concerns over the secondary effects caused by a major event such as this.
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