April 11, 2021
Monster iceberg threatening wildlife haven is now cracking up

Monster iceberg threatening wildlife haven is now cracking up


The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission captured a view of South Georgia Island (near the center) and the pieces of the iceberg (highlighted in yellow).


ESA

South Georgia Island, a haven for penguins and seals in the southern Atlantic Ocean, may have just gotten extremely lucky

Late last year, scientists warned about an encroaching iceberg, a jumbo-size chunk known as A-68A, and the damage it could do to the island’s delicate ecosystem and wildlife. The European Space Agency has been monitoring the monster using Copernicus satellites as it nears the island, and now reports the iceberg is breaking up.

This closer satellite view shows how iceberg A-68A is now in smaller pieces, each with their own letter designations.


ESA

The original iceberg A-68 broke away from the Antarctic ice shelf in 2017. NASA compared its size with the state of Delaware at the time. The absolute unit wandered off into the ocean and a large piece named A-68A eventually floated toward South Georgia Island, threatening to disrupt ocean-foraging animals like penguins.

ESA’s satellite system spotted cracks in the berg last week and followed along by satellite as it broke into smaller pieces. 

“These little icebergs could indicate the end of A-68A’s environmental threat to South Georgia,” ESA said in a statement on Wednesday.

A-68A was once the largest iceberg in the world. Now that it’s breaking down into smaller pieces, the remnants may float away from the vulnerable island. That’s good news for a lot of seals and penguins.



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