CM – The largest iceberg in the world is breaking off Antarctica: European Space Agency


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May 20, 2021

by Kelly MacNamara

A giant iceberg, the largest in the world, has broken off an ice shelf in Antarctica and is floating through the Weddell Sea, the European Space Agency said.

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Referred to as the A-76 and roughly the shape of Manhattan but more than 70 times larger, it was captured on satellite imagery and is « currently the largest mountain in the world, » ESA said on Wednesday.

The iceberg is around 170 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide. With an area of ​​4,320 square kilometers, it is slightly larger than the Spanish island of Mallorca.

The mountain that broke off the west side of the Ronne Ice Shelf was originally discovered by the British Antarctic Survey and confirmed by images from the Copernicus satellite.

It is the largest in the world from the A-23A iceberg with a size of approx. 3,880 km², which is also located in the Weddell Sea.

In November last year, the then largest iceberg in the world appeared to be on top of one To be on a collision course with a remote South Atlantic island home to thousands of penguins and seals, which threatened to affect their ability to forage.

The iceberg known as A68a had also broken off from the Larsen Ice Shelf, which is moving faster warmer than any other part of the southernmost continent on earth.

The A68a, which was 160 kilometers long and 30 miles wide, broke apart before it could harm the abundant wildlife in the UK overseas territory of South Georgia.

The Earth’s average surface temperature has been around since the 19th century one degree Celsius, which is enough to increase the intensity of droughts, heat waves and tropical cyclones.

Important parts of the peninsula’s Larsen Ice Shelf, which had been stable for more than 10,000 years, disintegrated within a few days in 1995 and 2002. In 2008 and 2009, the nearby Wilkins Ice Shelf followed suit.

A process known as hydrofracturing was likely the primary culprit in both cases, previous research has shown.

Hydrofracturing occurs when water – heavier than ice – flows through cracks in the surface of ice shelves caused by surface heating, forcibly opening the fractures and breaking the iceberg.

Icebergs become traditional named after the Antarctic quadrant they were originally discovered in, then a sequential number.

As they break apart, more letters are added to differentiate the fragments.

© 2021 AFP

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