A massive rift in an Antarctic ice shelf is rapidly extending and could create one of the largest icebergs ever within months, scientists have warned.
The UK based Project Midas which is monitoring the Larsen C ice shelf in West Antarctica has warned that a rift on the shelf extended by 18km in the second half of December 2016 and is "poised to calve".
"The Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica is primed to shed an area of more than 5000 square km following further substantial rift growth," the team, which is led by Professor Adrian Luckman, wrote on their website.
"Only a final 20km of ice now connects an iceberg one quarter the size of Wales to its parent ice shelf."
"When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10 per cent of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula."