(Gray News) – Under the watchful eyes of world scientists, a massive iceberg broke off Antarctica this week.
At about 116 square miles, it’s roughly the same size as the nation of Malta. Rhode Island is about nine times bigger than the Mediterranean island.
Scientists had been watching the iceberg develop over the last year.
“As anticipated, Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, in Antarctica has just spawned a huge iceberg,” the European Space Agency said. “This huge berg very quickly broke into many ‘piglet’ pieces …”
The Pine Island Glacier and its neighbor, the Thwaites Glacier, are part of West Antarctic Ice Sheet and dump large amounts of ice in the ocean, according to the ESA.
"These two glaciers have been losing ice over the last 25 years,” the agency said.
“Since the early 1990s, the Pine Island Glacier’s ice velocity has increased dramatically … Its floating ice front … has experienced a series of calving events over the past 30 years, some of which have abruptly changed the shape and position of the ice front.”
The largest iceberg ever recorded broke away from Antarctica in March 2000.
Its surface area measured 4,200 square miles, larger than Jamaica, and more than 30 times bigger than this week’s Malta-sized berg.