Briefly

Stuff that matters

what happened to staying together for the kids?

A crucial crack in an Antarctic ice sheet grew 11 miles in only 6 days.

The widening rift in the Larsen C ice shelf in West Antarctica has reached a (relative, for ice) fever pitch in the past few months, stretching for more than 110 miles and gaping more than 1,000 feet across.

In just the last couple of days, the crack grew another 11 miles and took a sharp right turn toward the sea. It now ends a mere eight miles from totally breaking through, according to observations from ice-monitoring mission Project Midas.

The iceberg that forms will be bigger than Long Island. Or as big as Delaware. Or roughly the size of Prince Edward Island, if you’re Canadian. Or [insert your geographical comparison of choice here].

Floating ice shelves like Larsen C hold back the flow of ice sheets and glaciers into the sea, meaning the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet is about to get more unstable. That’s bad news for all of us, because that big chunk o’ land-locked ice contains enough water to raise global sea levels more than 10 feet.

As if this week weren’t exciting enough already.