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Ice shelf

An ice shelf is ice that is stuck "fast" to land, typically in Antarctica or Greenland. Ice shelves form due to the accumulation of sea ice, as well as from glaciers extended out over the shoreline.

An ice shelf formed from both sea ice and glaciers is called a composite ice shelf. When a chunk breaks off from an ice shelf, this is called "calving" - like a mommy cow giving birth to a baby.

Scientists are divided over whether recent episodes of calving are alarming indicators of global warming or just normal, isolated local phenomena.

See: Ross Ice Shelf.