It can be a matter of days before one of the world's largest icebergs breaks off from the sea ice at the South Pole. This is a hair-raising warning from a group of scientists after seeing a series of new satellite images.
The gigantic crack has grown by 18 kilometers in one week.
A 300-meter-thick ice plain is about to break in half, allowing an iceberg the size of South Holland and Zeeland to collapse into the sea, west of Antarctica.
This is the threatening warning from a group of American and British scientists after seeing a number of new satellite images of a giant crack in the thousands-year-old ice plate named Larsen C.
Dangerous close to a break
The researchers have been keeping a close eye on the crack for years, but in recent months they have become more worried about the ancient ice shelf than usual.
New satellite photos show that at the end of May the crack has grown by 18 kilometers in about a week. And that means that there is only 13 kilometers of ice between now and the moment when the gigantic iceberg disappears in the Southern Ice Sea.
A discovery whereby scientists like Dan McGrath from US Geological Survey make the alarm bells ring a lot.
"I expect it to happen in a few days or weeks," McGrath told Reuters.
Gigantic sea rise
The Larsen C ice shelf is already floating in the sea, and if a large piece breaks off, it therefore has no major consequences for sea level.
But researchers fear that the remainder of the ice shelf after the departure of the iceberg is more vulnerable and that the whole of Larsen C might fail.
If that happens then the oceans can rise 10 centimeters.