Snapshot of the rift in the Larsen C on Nov. 10, 2016. (NASA/John Sonntag)
Giant iceberg breaks away
00:53 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

In the frigid waters off the coast of Fogo Island icebergs float by on their journey southward. Get up close with the massive pieces of ice and see Newfoundland’s barren landscape.

A massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica, according to a UK-based research team.

Scientists from Project MIDAS had been monitoring a break in the Larsen C ice shelf – the fourth-largest in Antarctica – following the collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and had observed significant advances in the rift over the past 12 months.

Map showing iceberg detachment based on data from NASA dated July 12.

Experts said a 5,800-square-kilometer (2,239-square-mile) section of Larsen C was confirmed to have broken away between Monday and Wednesday by NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite.

“We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometers of ice,” professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, lead investigator of the MIDAS project said in a statement.

He told CNN the team believes the iceberg has remained intact adding, “This is part of the normal behavior of ice shelves. What makes this unusual is the size.”

Scientists believe the iceberg – likely to be named A68 – has a volume twice that of Lake Erie in North America and is more than three times the size of the greater London area.

Read: Two big changes in Antarctica have scientists worried

The rift, then spanning 70 miles, on Larsen C pictured in November last year.

It’s half the size of the largest iceberg ever recorded: B15. With an area of 11,007 square kilometers (4,250 square miles) – about the size of the state of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica – it calved off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.

newfoundland iceberg crop vr
Iceberg Alley
01:25 - Source: CNN

With the iceberg now floating independently, the area of Larsen C has been reduced by more than 12%, forever changing the landscape of the peninsula, according to experts.

Read: Is it time to stop vacationing in Antarctica?

Luckman said that as the sheet of ice was floating before it carved off the shelf “there will be no immediate impact.”

“This event does not directly affect anyone, and repercussions, if there are any, will not be felt for years. However, it is a spectacular and enormous geographical event which has changed the landscape.”

“We will study the ice shelf for signs that it is reacting to the calving – but we do not expect anything much to happen for perhaps years. Icebergs are routinely monitored by various agencies, and they will be keen to keep track of this one,” Luckman added.

Read: New Greenland crack has caught scientists’ attention