Giant New Iceberg the Size of London Breaks Off Antarctic Ice Shelf

Giant New Iceberg the Size of London Breaks Off Antarctic Ice Shelf

Welcome a new iceberg to the planet. The British Antarctic Survey monitors activities on the Brunt Ice Shelf along the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. BAS announced the new berg in a statement on Monday, saying, “The calve came after cracks that have been developing naturally over the last few years widened across the entire ice shelf, causing the new iceberg to break free .”

It is about 600 square miles (1,550 square kilometres), making it roughly the size of Greater London. It takes a lot of effort to calve an iceberg this big from the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is 490 feet (150 meters) thick. An expansive crack called Chasm-1 eventually reached from one side of the shelf to the other, releasing the chunk.

Chasm-1 finally reached the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica to set a new iceberg free from the main shelf.


A jumbo berg (A74) about the size of the city of Los Angeles break in 2021. That one was a big one, but the new iceberg is a bit bigger than its predecessor.

The new iceberg has been many years in the making. Back in 2016, BAS relocated the Halley Research Station to a more stable location in response to the expansion of Chasm-1. Researchers at the station monitor the ice shelf using GPS instruments. That data, in conjunction with satellite imagery, helps scientists understand what’s happening with the movement of ice and ice sheets.

Halley currently has a team of 21, but it is far away from the birth event and the researchers are safe.

BAS tweeted animation showing iceberg movement based on GPS information.

Any change in the ice in Antarctica creates the specter of global warming, a concern addressed by BAS. “This calving event was expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It is not related to climate change,” said glaciologist Dominic Hodgson.

The new iceberg is likely to follow in the footsteps of the A74 and drift out to sea. The US National Ice Center will give it an official name, so we can stop calling it “new iceberg” and start calling it by its real name.

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