From Monsters and Critics: Researchers spot huge split in Antartic ice shelf
Madrid - Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf is rapidly disintegrating, Spanish scientists reported on Tuesday, with potentially ominous implications for climate change.
An ice sheet of 14,000 square kilometres has broken off from the Wilkins Shelf, and has itself broken into several large icebergs, according to a statement from Spain's National Research Council (CSIC).
CSIC scientists aboard the Hesperides maritime research vessel spotted the disintegration, about 1,600 kilometres south of the southern tip of South America.
If their observation is confirmed, only a small tip of the huge 16,000 square kilometre ice shelf would still be attached to Antarctica.
Pedro Luis de la Puente, the captain of the Hesperides, said 'We have seen huge icebergs, which have split off from the ice platform. Some of these icebergs are more than 200 metres high.'
The scientists pointed out that such a disintegration of an ice sheet would lead to rising sea levels.