An iceberg more than 20 times the size of Manhattan has broken from the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica as a result of the normal movement of the Earth, Gizmodo and CNN reported.
The nearly 500 feet in depth, 490-square-mile slab of ice split off in a process geologists call calving, a statement from the British Antarctic Survey shows.
The calving occurred nearly 10 years after scientists first detected huge cracks had formed in the ice shelf. A crack in the ice widened by several hundred meters Friday before the iceberg separated.
The survey's scientists captured aerial views of the crack.
They were anticipating a gigantic iceberg to break away for years because of cracks in the ice shelf, survey chief professor Dame Jane Francis, said.
"Our teams have been prepared for the iceberg calving from Brunt Ice Shelf for years," Francis said.
The mobile research base transferred inland for precautionary reasons in 2016 as cracks threatened to cut it off. "That was a wise decision," Simon Garrod, survey chief of operations, said.
The calving shouldn't pose any immediate danger to the Halley Research Station, the survey base on the ice shelf.
A much larger iceberg split from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017 and floated into the open sea late 2020.
Icebergs normally break off from Antarctica in a process accelerated by climate change.
However, the survey said in this case, there's "no evidence" that climate change has played a significant role.