Trillion-Tonne Iceberg Breaks off from Antarctica

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One of the largest icebergs in recorded history just broke loose from Antarctica.

John Sonntag/Nasa

Scientists announced on Wednesday that a much-anticipated break at the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has occurred, unleashing a massive iceberg that is more than 2,200 square miles in area and weighs a trillion tonnes.

It is expected to be given the name ‘A68’ soon, scientists said.

“The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict,” said Adrian Luckman of Project MIDAS, a research group at Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities in Wales that has been monitoring the situation closely by satellite.

Torsten Blackwood/EPA

“It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters,” Luckman said.

The change is large enough that it will trigger a redrawing of the Antarctic coastline.