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As the planet and the oceans warm, in the Antarctic a cool layer of newly minted ice shields the surface ocean from the warmer, deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves. New giant icebergs float off Antarctica -- some the size of the Island of Montreal. On one eventful day in the Antarctic's Scott Base, a group of marine biologists are introduced to an attraction far more impacting than the "calving" off of icebergs from the world's land ice. What they encounter is the most powerful event in nature they have ever experienced whose magnitude seems almost incomprehensible.
Soon the world would know what they knew:
As though connected by rods, Kate and the two men turn south. South, toward a marvel that is part of the everyday existence here. It is a cliff, a hundred meters high, that thrusts up out of the ocean. They still call it 'The Barrier'.
It is the seaward edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.
Not a level sheet, the Shelf is an icescape where plates the size of suburban neighborhoods shift with the seasons, shaped by the slow processes of wind and tide.
But now Kate can see swift movement where there should only be frozen stillness. All across the southern horizon, the edge of the world lifts. Atlas has shifted his grip on the globe and there is a shockwave in the ice.
As the terrible force of Fragment becomes known, it is not only the human world that will have to contend with its treachery but also the animal world, especially that of the sea. And so it is that within the survival instincts of several species lay the remedy and plan that must be forged to save millions from disaster and potential death. But first, as the Fragment morphs from phenomenon to global threat and begins its drift toward South America, the parade of humanity will have its way: the military with their military prescriptions, the media with their desire to exploit the disaster, the scientists with their passive desire to know more and more, and those few dedicated marine scientists who were there at its birth and will eventually be lead to action by the most unlikely of all allies -- a blue whale named Ring.
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