A huge slab of ice, compared in size to Manhattan, has broken away from Antarctica and is heading into open seas. After breaking free in July, it remained trapped by the southern hemisphere winter.
Now spring has freed the slab, leaving experts concerned that it could enter shipping lanes and pose a considerable danger.
Currently wedged in Pine Island Bay, previous bergs from here have moved either east or into the Southern Ocean. They are calved every six to ten years by Antarctica’s longest and fastest-flowing glacier, with previous blocks ejected in 2001 and 2007.
This is the first that will be continuously monitored, with a team of UK researchers being awarded an emergency grant specifically for this purpose.
Scientists first noticed a significant crack in the iceberg in 2011, and hope to predict what will happen over the next 12 months.