The Big Apple is about to get some competition down south. A New York City-sized iceberg will eventually split off of Antarctica as a result of a 19-mile long crack on a glacier on the Western part of the world’s southernmost continent, according to NASA.
The crack was first observed up-close on the Pine Island Glacier in mid-October 2011 by NASA scientists working on Antarctica, the agency explained.
Later in November, NASA’s Terra AM satellite — the same one that reportedly suffered “interference” from the ground that was speculated to be the result of Chinese hackers — snapped a photo of the crack using its ASTER instrument, a high spatial resolution instrument that serves as an orbital “zoom” lens, which can close-up on land features with incredible detail.
As ASTER’s work uncovered, the great ice crack measures 19 miles long, 260 feet wide and 195 feet deep and the resulting iceberg will be nearly 350 square miles, NASA reported. The crack itself is longer than the island of Manhattan, which extends 13.5 miles at its maximum.
Also, compare the size of the expected iceberg to the to the 303-square miles over which New York City’s five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island — are spread, and that’s one humungous ice chip. It also gives the mainland portion of Rhode Island a run for its money. The total land area of Rhode Island is 1,045 miles, according to the state government.
And the big iceberg break-off is coming soon. Although scientists aren’t exactly sure when it will happen, it should be “in the coming months for sure,” Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told National Geographic.