NASA captures disturbing image of Antarctica ice rift

A new finding by NASA is troubling scientists -- and it may lead to the biggest ice event since 2000.

On November 10, NASA's IceBridge mission -- which is the largest ever airborne surveillance of the Earth's polar ice -- captured a look at what they're calling a "massive rift" on Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf.

While the cut is completely through the shelf, it's not completely across it yet. If it does, it will create an iceberg the size of Delaware. Nature World News reports that if that happens, it would mean the largest ice event since a recorded iceberg calving in 2000.

See photos from Operation IceBridge

Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, explained why the rift is a big problem. "This kind of rifting behavior provides another mechanism for rapid retreat of these glaciers," he said, adding to the probability that we may see significant collapse of West Antarctica in our lifetimes."

Howat said it's not a question of if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt -- but when. The rift only supports this scary claim.