NASA satellites have captured pictures of the long-awaited birth of one of the biggest icebergs to be recorded – separated from the Antarctic ice shelf this week
The massive iceberg contains more than 1.1 trillion tons of water and is the size of Delaware. The separation from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf took place somewhere between July 10 and July 12. Moreover, it was first reported by the UK-based scientists from Project Midas, which is an Antarctic research group.
The separation was further confirmed by satellite images.
Now, pictures from NASA’s satellites show the gradual separation form the ice shelf. The first time when the first crack was observed was in the early 1960’s, but remained unchanged for decades.
The crack began to spread northward at an alarming rate in 2014, and it has accelerated in 2016, which lead scientists to believe that it would eventually turn into a separate iceberg. From 24 to 27 of June, the rift tripled its speed.
Measurements from November 2016 estimated that the rift was about 300 feet wide and 70 miles long. However, this summer’s measurements put the rift at 124 miles long.
The MODIS tool on NASA’s Aqua satellite uses thermal data to show the differences in temperature of both the ice and seawater. Furthermore, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) that is present on the Landsat 8 satellite captured data on June 17.
As the Larsen C is a floating ice shelf, the separation of the iceberg won’t cause ocean levels to rise, unlike those that calf from land-based ice shelves. Evidence was found that the iceberg’s formation was caused by climate change.