Covering 520,000 sq km, an area roughly the size of France, the Ross Ice Shelf was discovered on January 28, 1841, by James Clark Ross, who called it the Victoria Barrier in honor of Queen Victoria. Since then it has been called many things, namely the Barrier, the Great Barrier, the Great Ice Barrier, the Great Southern Barrier, the Icy Barrier, the Ross Ice Barrier and, these days, the Ross Ice Shelf.
Its mean ice thickness is 335m to 700m, but the shelf is up to 1000m thick where glaciers and ice streams meet it. At the ice front facing the Ross Sea, it’s less than 100m thick. It's rather hard to believe, but the whole ice shelf is actually floating.
The shelf moves as fast as 1100m per year, and calves an estimated 150 cu km of icebergs annually, out of its total of 23,000 cu km of ice.