The world’s largest floating iceberg, known as the A68a, is breaking apart as it drifts toward South Georgia Island.
Satellite images on Monday showed cracks along the ice sheet, but by Tuesday, two new A68a icebergs had appeared – just days after much of its northern portion had separated.
The two new glaciers are named the A68e, which measures 33 nautical miles, and the A68f, which spans 14 nautical miles.
Scientists are watching the huge glacier to see if it descends into shallow water, it could cause problems for the island’s penguins and seals, which search for food in the surrounding waters.
“From about three and a half years since it moved away from the Larsen C ice shelf, the A68a has finally started to disintegrate,” said Adrian Lachman of the University of Swansea, UK.
The US National Ice Center (USNIC) issued a statement on Tuesday confirming that the huge iceberg is disintegrating, giving rise to new, smaller masses.
The A68e and A68f were detected using the Sentinel-1A satellite, the third and fourth of the newly formed A68a mountains since their origin from the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, in July 2017.
The cracks were spotted on Monday along the southern region of the A68a, but did not cut through the floating ice sheet.
By Tuesday, the notches had become more noticeable and have now resulted in small chunks moving away from the A68a.
On Friday, a larger piece of ice separated from the glacier the size of Delaware.
Scientists assumed that the 70-square-mile plot of land broke apart when the frozen structure collided with the continental shelf outside the island, resulting in “ the production of a new mountain, ” according to Gizmodo.
Satellite imagery on Friday shows a smaller iceberg.
Scientists have warned that the A68a – driven by a strong polar current – could hit southern Georgia within days.
A68a is a threat to wildlife – it has the potential to crush marine life on the cliff surrounding the island and make the water inhospitable as it melts to release fresh water. Source: Daily Mail