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The A23a iceberg moves away 37 years after being stuck off the coast of Antarctica


Here is a cold recognition.

The planet’s largest iceberg is on the move for the first time in decades, heading toward the Southern Ocean, scientists said Friday.

The iceberg, known as A23a, spans about 1,500 square miles, or about three times the size of New York City.

The huge block of ice, which once housed a Soviet research station, broke off from the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in West Antarctica in 1986. It became stuck in the sea of the Waddells since his base became stuck at the bottom of the ocean.

Today, the nearly trillion-ton chunk is drifting rapidly past the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, powered by strong winds and ocean currents, satellite images show.

“Over time it probably thinned out slightly and gained that little extra buoyancy that allowed it to lift off the ocean floor and be pushed by ocean currents,” Oliver Marsh told Reuters , a glaciologist with the British Antarctic Survey, adding that it was rare to see an iceberg of this size on the move.

Iceberg A23A photographed from NASA’s LAndsat satellite on March 6, 2022.
The iceberg weighs almost a million tons.

A23a, one of the world’s oldest icebergs, is closely monitored by scientists as it heads north.

The iceberg will likely be launched into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This will direct it towards the Southern Ocean on a path known as “iceberg alley”, where more of its type can be found floating in the frigid waters.

Scientists fear A23a could run aground on South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic, which could have a potentially disastrous impact on Antarctic wildlife.

Recent satellite images have revealed that the iceberg has broken off the seabed and is heading towards the Southern Ocean.

Millions of seals, penguins and seabirds breed on the island and feed in the surrounding waters, which may be isolated by the giant berg.

A crisis was averted in 2020 when another iceberg, the A68, looked likely to collide with South Georgia, but fortunately broke into smaller pieces. The A23a could experience a similar fate, or even continue its route north.

But “an iceberg of this size has the potential to survive for quite a long time in the Southern Ocean, even if it is much warmer, and it could head further north towards South Africa where it could disrupt navigation.” , Marsh said.

With post wires



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