A massive iceberg that is five times the size of Malta has broken away from Antarctica.

The D28 iceberg — which is 1,582 square kilometres — was captured breaking away from the Amery Ice Shelf by the European Union Earth Observation Programme.

It is the biggest iceberg the shelf has produced in more than 50 years.

The size of the iceberg is such that it may pose a hazard to shipping lanes in future, so must be tracked.

But scientists have stressed that not only had the “calving” of the iceberg been predicted for almost two decades, but the D28 is “small relative to some of the largest icebergs in history.”

Helen Amanda Fricker, a professor and glaciologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said that the “calving event is part of a healthy ice shelf cycle” and was not connected to climate change.

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