A NASA study, conducted in October 2011 on one of Antarctica's five largest ice streams, found a huge fracture line in the Pine Island Glacier. A few days ago, the American space agency released a short animation of the rupture zone.
The crack is currently about 18 miles (30 kilometers) long, and about 240 feet (80 meters) wide, on average. At its widest, the rupture line is roughly 820 feet (250 meters). Experts expect it to propagate through what they affectionately called the PIG.
In the near future, the crack will continue to extend in length. Scientists estimate that a huge chunk of ice, with a surface area of 350 square miles (900 square kilometers), may separate from Antarctica soon.
If that does not happen within the next few months, there's a chance that newly-forming ices will trap the ice mass in place, at least for a while longer.