Colossal iceberg that dwarfs Manhattan just broke free in Antarctica

Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier just lost a 100 square mile chunk of ice

Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier just lost a 100 square mile chunk of ice

It is also accountable for a quarter of the frozen continent's ice deprivation, a stupendous 45 billion tons of ice each year. To put that in perspective, the now-floating ice is more than four times the size of Manhattan, though it is much smaller than the calving that happened a few months back.

An enormous Antarctic glacier has given up an iceberg over 100 square miles in size, the second time in two years it has lost such a large piece in a process that has scientists wondering if its behavior is changing for the worse. As more ice recedes, liquid water is allowed to creep through the cracks, further exacerbating the glacier's instability.

The Pine Island Glacier is no stranger to such calving events, and in fact has been carefully monitored by researchers around the world who worry these rifts are highlighting a trend. Previously, a Delaware-sized, 2,300-square-mile iceberg, responsible for 12 percent of the Larsen C ice shelf of Antarctica, broke off in July.

The novel iceberg seems to be very unbalanced furnishing a batch of smaller icebergs as it eventually drifts out to the sea. Increased retreat on the glacier may speed up its rate of ice loss, a problematic scenario that will have a notable effect on sea levels. It's melting differently from other parts of Antarctica.

A rift in Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, West Antarctica, photographed from the air during a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight, November 4, 2016. "This one and 2015, they were much further inland than the previous ones".

Pine Island is one of the largest glaciers in Antarctica, which has seen major ice loss in recent years. 23 calving. Stef Lhermitte, a remote sensing expert at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, posted a time-lapse of Sentinel-1 images showing how the rift opened. In 2015, an iceberg twice as large as this most recent one broke from the glacier, creating the rift that led to the Sep.

The whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet itself is already considered unstable, with some studies forecasting it will break down by 2100. If this continues, scientists believe that one possible result will be raised sea levels, with the entire main trunk of the Pine Island Glacier possibly breaking off in around 100 years. Overall, 150 million people could be displaced.

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