An iceberg the size of Delaware is ready to break off Antarctica

A iceberg the size of Delaware is dangerously close to breaking away from Antarctica.

According to NASA, a big crack in the Larsen C ice shelf grew dramatically at the end of last year.

And now, the nearly 2,000-square-mile section of the ice sheet is hanging on by a thread — a flimsy 12-mile stretch of frozen water.

Experts think it won't be long before it breaks off. As one scientist told the BBC, "If it doesn't go in the next few months, I'll be amazed."

SEE MORE: Seabird Poop Could Help Save Arctic Sea Ice

And when it does, it could create one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded and might lead to the collapse of the entire Larsen C shelf.

Under the sea in Antarctica
See Gallery
Under the sea in Antarctica

Weddell seal and pup swimming underwater in Antarctica.

(Doug Allan via Getty Images)

A cable portrudes from the ice wall at Explorers Cover, New Harbor, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The cable is used for the Remotely Operable Micro-Environmental Observatory (ROMEO), an underwater camera. Connected to onshore equipment and linked by radio to

(SCIENCE SOURCE via Getty Images)

The Marbled Rockcod (Notothenia rossii) copes with the icy waters of Antarctica by means of a biological antifreeze in its body fluids, Antarctica.

(David Fleetham/Visuals Unlimited, Inc. via Getty Images)

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), key species in the Antarctic ecosystem. Grows to 6 cm and occurs in densities ranging up to 30,000 in a cubic metre. 

(Auscape via Getty Images)

Unidentified large jellyfish in brash ice, Cierva Cove, Antarctica, Southern Ocean, Polar Regions.

(Michael Nolan / robertharding via Getty Images)

Icefish in Antarctica have no scales or haemoglobin, so their blood is white.

(Doug Allan/Nature Picture Library via Getty Images)

Antarctic Sea star (Odontaster validus) in Antarctica.

(Jonathan Bird via Getty Images)

Antarctic Sea urchin, (Sterechinus neumayeri) with camouflage attached, Antarctica.

(Jonathan Bird via Getty Images)

Antarctic Limpet (Nacella concinna) in Antarctica.

(Jonathan Bird via Getty Images)

Barbed plunder fish in Antarctic underwater.

(izanbar via Getty Images)

Antarctica, Cuverville Island, Underwater view of Comb Jellyfish swimming beneath ice along plankton-filled shallow water.

(Paul Souders via Getty Images)

Orange yellow anemone surrounded by brown algae, Antarctica.

(Mathieu Meur/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images)

Two yellow sea stars and white worm strands, Antarctica.

(Mathieu Meur/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images)


NASA says if and when the mammoth iceberg breaks away and melts, it won't make sea levels rise, simply because it's already floating.

But the Larsen C shelf prevents other glaciers from reaching the ocean. If the whole shelf breaks up, those glaciers could contribute to rising sea levels.

If researchers' estimates are on track, the ice the Larson C shelf is holding back could eventually melt and increase global sea levels by almost 4 inches. That's a lot.

Read Full Story

From Our Partners