Snapshot of the rift in the Larsen C on Nov. 10, 2016. (NASA/John Sonntag)
John Sonntag/NASA
Snapshot of the rift in the Larsen C on Nov. 10, 2016. (NASA/John Sonntag)
Now playing
00:53
Giant iceberg breaks away
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
CNN
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
Now playing
03:56
'Get a little uncomfortable': See Brooke Baldwin's last words on air
CNN
Now playing
02:56
Watch Anderson Cooper belly laugh with Cheri Oteri
Now playing
01:24
How Kyra Sedgwick got the cops called on Tom Cruise
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
US Navy
Now playing
01:28
Pentagon confirms UFO video is real, taken by Navy pilot
Now playing
02:35
WWII veteran: End of the war was 'the biggest thrill of my life'
Fancy Feast/Purina
Now playing
01:06
Cat food company makes a cookbook ... for humans
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Google
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Now playing
01:09
Google Earth's new Timelapse feature shows 40 years of climate change in just seconds
Twitter | @brady9dream
Now playing
02:10
Pet owners pitch their pups to be dog brew's 'Chief Tasting Officer'
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:23
'The Masked Singer' reveals identity of The Orca
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Bitcoin has an energy problem
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Mercedes-Benz AG
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Now playing
01:05
See the new all-electric EQS luxury sedan from Mercedes
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Now playing
01:02
Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers question stumps 'Jeopardy!' contestants
Now playing
05:18
Coinbase CFO: We're an on-ramp to the crypto economy

Story highlights

The Larsen C has been steadily breaking free of the Larsen Ice Shelf

Some fear a drifting Larsen C could pose a danger to ships

(CNN) —  

A huge ice sheet more than half the size of Qatar could soon break off from Antarctica.

If the Larsen C breaks free, it’ll be one of the world’s biggest ever icebergs, measuring 6,000 square kilometers or 2,300 square miles.

That’s the size of four Londons or more than seven New York Citys.

In early June, scientists said the Larsen C was 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the edge of the ice. It’s now just five kilometers (3 miles) away, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Larsen C is a portion of the greater Larsen Ice Shelf on the northeastern coast of Antarctica.

The ESA is monitoring the sheet through CryoSat, its mission dedicated to ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, along with a duo of ESA radars.

If it drifts away, there are fears Larsen C could pose a danger to ships.

“We are not sure what will happen,” Anna Hogg, with the University of Leeds, told ESA. “It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after. Whole or in pieces, ocean currents could drag it north, even as far as the Falkland Islands. If so it could pose a hazard for ships in Drake Passage.”

A photo of the cleave breaking Larsen C off its greater ice shelf, November 2016.
A photo of the cleave breaking Larsen C off its greater ice shelf, November 2016.

Larsen C is not the first major iceberg to break off.

In the last three decades, Larsen A and B have also cleaved from the shelf. That’s a big deal, especially for a frozen mass in one of the quickest warming areas on Earth, according to NASA.

The split of Larsen C will fuel a vicious cycle leading to more vulnerability, NASA says. The deeper ice the Larsen C had once shielded is expected to become vulnerable to melting and disintegration, especially with rising temperatures.

A photo of the now 200km cleave that will split Larsen C off its greater ice shelf, November 2016. Just 5 km of connection remains.
Jesse Allen/NASA
A photo of the now 200km cleave that will split Larsen C off its greater ice shelf, November 2016. Just 5 km of connection remains.

As it loses part of its anchor, the ice shelf could become less stable.

There are no major research bases or centers on the piece that’s about to break away, unlike on the berg that split from Antarctica in 2015, according to ESA.

ESA radars monitoring the region will tell researchers exactly when the split occurs. The agency’s systems will also help also calculate changes in the volume of the Earth’s ice after the monumental break.