How Big Is the Larsen C Iceberg Compared to Chicago?

An iceberg nine times the size of Chicago has broken free from Antarctica.

The iceberg cleaved away on July 12 from an area known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf. The cleaving is a naturally occurring process, but icebergs this big are rare.

Just how big is that exactly?



The breakaway ice covers a whopping 2,200 square miles of surface area. That’s big enough to cover a huge swatch of area that could encompass the distance between Chicago and Milwaukee.

The mass of the iceberg lurks beneath the surface. The Larsen iceberg packs enough ice to fill Lake Erie twice over.  Put another way, it would take up as much space as 1,657 Empire State Buildings.

Here is how it stacks up to some other parts of the U.S.:

New York City





San Francisco


Grand Canyon


The break has been on its way for a long time, with the main crack in the ice visible since the 1960s. Icebergs breaking away from the continent is a natural process in Antarctica, and not a new phenomenon brought about by climate change.

However scientists warn that climate change could prevent new ice from forming in the years to come. For more check out the NASA Earth Observatory


Al Harris