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World’s largest iceberg nearing its end, breaks into pieces

When it broke away from its parent ice shelf in Antarctica in May 2021, Berg A-76A was the world’s largest iceberg. The iceberg has since broken up, and the largest of them, Antarctic iceberg A-76A, is floating in the Drake Passage.

The largest remaining piece of the world’s largest iceberg is approaching its end as it floats in the ocean indefinitely.

Scientists captured a natural-color image of the berg using NASA’s Terra satellite’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The image depicts the iceberg’s long tabular shape, which distinguishes it from sea ice found further south in the Southern Ocean.

The iceberg is currently nestled in between the South Orkney Islands and the Elephant Islands in the Southern Ocean as the floating fragments of a glacier and continues to surprisingly maintain its structure as it drifts nearly 2,000 kilometers away from its parent ice shelf in the Drake Passage.

Icebergs, according to Nasa, are floating fragments of glaciers or ice shelves, whereas sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface. The world’s largest iceberg broke off from the Ronne Ice Shelf in May 2021 and broke into three more pieces within a month.

The location of iceberg is in a passage that is a turbulent body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands, including Elephant Island visible in this image. In June 2021, the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) reported that A-76A measured 135 kilometers long and 26 kilometers wide, a total area equal to about twice the size of London.


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