The iceberg, roughly 20 times bigger than the tiny island of Malta (population roughly 500 000) has just broken off of Antarctica. It happened within the past few days.

While the iceberg doesn't pose any immediate threat to sea levels, it's a huge one - weighing around 1 trillion tons. Scientists have been monitoring a rift in ice for years and had now been expecting the break-off for months. The rift started to grow in January, and was confirmed to have broken off this Wednesday.

"We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometers of ice," said one of the project's lead investigators.

Now that is has broken off, it will most likely start to break into smaller pieces. Some of it might remain in the same area for decades while some pieces might drift into warmer waters.

While there's no question about the existence of climate change, scientists haven't found any link to (human-induced) climate change in case of this break-off. Icebergs are known to be breaking away naturally for centuries.

"That's just the way Antarctica works," said Helen Fricker from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.