Giant Icebergs Are Headed for South Georgia Island

Giant Icebergs Are Headed for South Georgia Island (Source

Scientists in the Southern Hemisphere are tracking A68a, a giant slab of ice that cracked off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf more than three years ago.  The iceberg is drifting close to South Georgia Island, a critical biodiversity hotspot in the vast Southeastern Atlantic Ocean, more than 1,000 miles from the spiny twin tips of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Christmas week the berg split into three main sections, still drifting close together, and scientists said the biggest pieces might get stuck near the shore and disrupt wildlife. The British Antarctic Survey has launched a mission to study the berg with drone submarines and other instruments, said Andrew Fleming, who has been tracking its exact position via satellite. “If it gets grounded there, it might stay for a long time,” Fleming said. And as it breaks up, thousands of smaller bergs could float north into shipping lanes, he added. A68a is no ordinary iceberg. It was one of the 10 biggest bergs ever to break off the Antarctic shelf, about as big as Rhode Island and about 650 feet thick, with most of that heft below the waterline. So far, it’s floated nearly 1,000 miles toward South Georgia, an island about the same size as the berg.

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