A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart.
A crack more than 120 miles long had developed over several years in a floating ice shelf called Larsen C, and scientists who have been monitoring it confirmed on Wednesday that the huge iceberg had finally broken free.
There is no scientific consensus over whether global warming is to blame. But the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula has been fundamentally changed, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain that had been monitoring the rift since 2014.
“The remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size,” said Adrian Luckman, a lead researcher for Project Midas. “This is a big change. Maps will need to be redrawn.”