The inevitable moment of reckoning for the Larsen C ice shelf arrived. The growing rift that carved across one of the Antarctica Peninsula’s largest ice shelves reached its end, sending a 2,240-square mile iceberg spiraling into the sea. Welcome to the world, iceberg A68.
The massive slab of ice, equivalent to the size of Delaware and large enough to cover the U.S. in 4.6 inches of ice, will slowly melt over the coming years as it drifts away from Antarctica.
The health of the remaining ice shelf will serve as a bellwether for how climate change could interact with natural processes to reshape Antarctica’s vast stores of ice. The growing instability of the continent’s ice has major implications for coastal communities around the world as it melts and pushes sea levels higher.