r some time, scientists who focus on Antarctica have been watching the progression of a large crack in one of the world's great ice shelves - Larsen C, the most northern major ice shelf of the Antarctic peninsula, and the fourth largest Antarctic ice shelf overall.
Larsen C, according to the British Antarctic Survey, is "slightly smaller than Scotland." It's called an ice "shelf" because the entirety of this country-sized area is covered by 350 meter thick ice that is floating on top of deep ocean waters.
The crack in Larsen C grew around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in length between 2011 and 2015. And as it grew, also became wider - by 2015, yawning some 200 meters in length. Since then, growth has only continued - and now, a team of researchers monitoring Larsen C say that with the intense winter polar night over Antarctica coming to an end, they've been able to catch of glimpse of what happened to the crack during the time when it could not be observed by satellite.
The result was astonishing.
The rift had grown another 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) since it was last observed in March 2016, and has widened to about 350 meters, report researchers from Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic Survey funded collaboration of researchers from Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities in Wales, and other institutions. The full length of the rift is now 130 km, or over 80 miles.