Almost a decade after British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists first detected the vast cracks growing in it, an enormous iceberg, 490 square miles (1270 square kilometers) wide and nearly 500 feet (150 meters) thick, has split off from the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

The iceberg's dramatic breakup, which is more than 20 times the size of Manhattan and bigger than New York City, comes following a major crack that had formed in November 2020. It was totally expected by the scientists. Following the many cracks in the ice shelf, a new chasm, known as the North Rift, started getting closer to another large crack in November. By January, the crack was growing a kilometer a day. The crack continued to develop over the months until it finally broke off on Feb. 26, Friday morning, according to a statement from BAS.

"Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years," BAS Director Jane Francis said.

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The BAS's Halley Research Station, which is located on the Brunt Ice Shelf to make atmospheric and space weather observations, was closed for the Antarctic winter with its staff having already left earlier in February. The press release states that the event shouldn’t pose any immediate threat to the research station and that the team was already prepared.

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