Publication Date July 12, 2017 | Mashable

The 7 best views of the Larsen C iceberg breaking off Antarctica

Image: via Mashable
Image: via Mashable

A giant iceberg breaking off Antarctica is a disconcerting sight, but it's also fascinating to watch.

One of the largest icebergs ever recorded finally broke free from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in northwest Antarctica, U.S. and European agencies monitoring the region confirmed on Wednesday.

The 2,200-square-mile block is about the size of Delaware (or twice the size of Luxembourg) and contains a volume of ice twice the size of Lake Erie.

The iceberg won't directly add to sea level rise, since it has already been floating in the water like an ice cube in a glass. But it may have significant future consequences.

Floating ice shelves act like doorstops to the land-based glaciers behind them. As chunks of the ice shelves break away — as this iceberg did — it can weaken the shelves, eventually causing their collapse. This would allow glaciers to move faster into the sea, adding new water to the ocean and raising sea levels.