Jul 12, 2017

Iceberg the size of Delaware breaks into the sea

John Sonntag / NASA

A 2,239 square mile iceberg (roughly the size of Delaware) has broken off of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf. The chunk of ice weighs over a trillion tons.

Climate scientists have been monitoring the rift ever since the Larsen A ice shelf disintegrated in 1995. The Larsen B ice shelf also collapsed in 2002 following a similar calving event in 1995. It's possible that Larsen C will regrow and stay stable, but it's also possible it will meet the same fate as the other ice shelves.

Why it matters: Ice shelves are floating on water already, so they don't contribute to sea level rise. However, they act as sort of dams, keeping land-based glaciers from flowing into the sea. Such glacial flows could gradually contribute to sea level rise. Regardless of what happens, the geography of the Antarctic peninsula is forever changed.

When it happened: The iceberg calved sometime between Monday and Wednesday. The event was detected by NASA's Aqua MODIS satellite, and was reported by the MIDAS project out of Swansea University this morning.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly science newsletter, Axios Science. 

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 887,067 — Total deaths: 44,264 — Total recoveries: 185,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 190,740 — Total deaths: 4,127 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Vice President Mike Pence said that White House modeling suggests "Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States" in terms of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest to issue stay-at-home orders, totaling 34 states and D.C.
  5. 2020 update: New York is latest state to delay primary — Bernie Sanders urges Wisconsin to delay April 7 primary.
  6.  🎧 Podcast: The Defense Production Act
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

West Virginia is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice rescheduled the state's May 12 primary election to June 9 on Wednesday, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday after the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to nearly 7,000.

Why it matters: DeSantis has been criticized for declining to order any statewide mandates to curb the spread of coronavirus as Florida — home to a significant elderly population — has increasingly become a hotspot. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.

Go deeperArrow41 mins ago - Health