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Αerial Footage Released of Gigantic Breakaway Antarctic Iceberg

Αerial Footage Antarctic Iceberg.
Αerial Footage of Gigantic Antarctic Iceberg. Credit: Ian Potten/BAS

A massive iceberg in Antarctica named A81, bigger than the city of Los Angeles, recently made headlines for its mind-blowing size.

The iceberg was birthed from the Brunt Ice Shelf on January 22, 2023, after a gigantic chasm finally snapped through the 490-foot-thick ice shelf, which had been widening for almost a decade.

The iceberg has since traveled around 93 miles into the Weddell Sea. The Halley Research Station of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) took the film of A81 as they flew over the iceberg on their way back home.

The Calving Event

When the crew first detected the gap in 2012, the calving event was anticipated, according to Oliver Marsh, a BAS glaciologist who just returned from the Halley Research Station.

“This was a calving we knew was coming. BAS has been monitoring the Brunt Ice Shelf and the chasms formed across it for over a decade. Since glaciologists first observed Chasm-1 widening in 2012, BAS science and operations teams have been anticipating the calving event. High precision GPS instruments, as well as satellite data, have been used to monitor the widening of the chasm and in 2016 BAS took the precaution of moving the Halley Research Station inland to protect it” Marsh stated.

As it broke away from Antarctica, A81 encompassed an area of around 600 square miles, and it is now calving many little icebergs along its shoreline.

Impact on Sea Levels

Researchers from the BAS will continue to follow A81 to determine where it will ultimately go and what effect its melting will have on the level of the ocean when it is completely gone. The melting of the enormous iceberg may have a huge effect on the levels of seas all across the world.

It is possible that the sea level will rise as a result of the iceberg melting into the ocean. Professor Geraint Tarling, head of the Ecosystems team at BAS said, “An iceberg of this size will have a big impact on the ocean ecosystems which support the rich diversity of marine wildlife found in this Antarctic region.”

A76A – Another Giant Iceberg

Glaciologists are also keeping a close check on another massive iceberg known as A76A, which separated from the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica in the month of May 2021. The colossal chunk of ice is the largest portion of A76 that is still in existence, making it the largest iceberg in the whole world.

The iceberg that broke off from the ice sheet and became known as A76 spanned an area of around 1,700 square miles, making it somewhat bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

On October 31, 2022, satellite photos showed that iceberg A76A had finally begun to move away from the coast of Antarctica and towards the Drake Passage. The passage will pull the berg closer to the equator, which is when it will finally melt.

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