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The world’s largest iceberg is finally moving away from Antarctica

The world’s largest iceberg, named A23a, is finally moving away from the continent after 40 years of being trapped on the coast of Antarctica. The giant ice island, which is three times the size of New York City, is likely to be headed for the “iceberg graveyard” and will most likely be on its way to hitting the important penguin sanctuary before it breaks up and melts. This iceberg can cause many problems for wildlife and shipping routes.

The giant iceberg with an area of ​​about four thousand square kilometers, in 1986, by breaking off from Fletichner Iceberg was born. But this huge iceberg was stuck in place for a long time after its submerged end sank to the floor of the Weddell Sea.

Christopher Shumana glaciologist from the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. to Live Science He said: “A23a has taken the title of the world’s largest iceberg several times; Because when this iceberg was in place, all the larger ice sheets were formed and disappeared.”

The massive, aging ice pack most recently won the title in June after previous record holder A76a was torn apart by ocean currents on its way to the equator. On November 25, the news media reported that the A23a was finally underway. According to the BBCThe iceberg’s quest for freedom began in 2020, when it gradually freed itself from the seabed.

A23a finally started moving in January of this year, the UK’s Antarctic Research Center shared satellite images on the virtual network X (formerly Twitter). This iceberg has traveled hundreds of kilometers along the Antarctic coastline since then.

A23a was stuck on the seabed due to its thickness. Schuman says that icebergs of this size are usually about 400 meters high from top to bottom, and about 90% of their mass is submerged in water. It is not “unusual” for icebergs of this size to be stuck in place for decades. He added that early explorers of Antarctica referred to this continent as “ice islands”.

Most of the ice mass of these trapped mountains is usually preserved because they are so large and so close to Antarctica. It is not known what water is trapped inside these mountains, but A68a, another large former iceberg that was about the size of present-day A23a, dumped more than a trillion tons of water into the ocean during its lifetime.

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