ANTARCTICA -- It's huge! A massive chuck of ice, or simply an iceberg has broken off from the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Researchers say it's about 20 times the size of Manhattan, or about the size of Los Angeles. About 490 square miles to be exact. Recall that Antarctica is at the southern portion of our globe. Part of the southern landmass is the Brunt Ice Shelf, floating sheets of ice connected to a landmass. See image below.
Researchers aren't necessarily relating this to global warming, since about 10,000 to 15,000 chunks of ice break off from shelves/glaciers each year. This breaking off, or calving as it's called, occurs when a chunk breaks off at the terminus, or end of a glacier. This particular chunk is said to be about 500 feet thick! Since it's already floating and displacing sea water, so it will not increase sea level as it melts over time.
The largest iceberg ever recorded calved off from Antarctica in 2000. It was about the size of Jamaica. More recently, a massive chunk about 2,240 square miles calved off from the Larsen Ice Shelf in 2017. It actually threatened South Georgia Island. Researchers expect this latest iceberg will eventually break up into smaller pieces and melt off. Their real concern is that it could impact the shipping lanes and create issues.
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