A23A Iceburg– The Antarctic iceberg known as A23a spans an impressive area of nearly 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 square miles), making it approximately three times larger than New York City.
It was confirmed that A23a had indeed detached from Antarctica, but what surprised researchers was its prolonged period of immobility spanning over 40 years before it resumed its movement.
Dr. Andrew Fleming, an expert in remote sensing from the British Antarctic Survey, dismissed initial speculations that attributed this phenomenon to temperature changes. Instead, experts unanimously agreed that the timing was the key factor behind this event.
According to Fleming, the A23A iceberg, which initially became grounded in 1986, gradually diminished in size over time, eventually losing its grip and initiating its movement. This movement was first recorded in 2020.
The island is a habitat for numerous marine creatures, birds, seals, and penguins, and the A23A iceberg’s movement could lead to the destruction of their homes and food sources. It is important to note that the A23A iceberg’s detachment and movement may not be directly associated with climate change, as reported by the BBC.
Further scientific research will help to gain a better understanding of this extraordinary natural phenomenon.
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what is an iceberg why is it dangerous: A23A
Icebergs, which are massive blocks of ice, detach from glaciers in a phenomenon known as calving. Contrary to popular belief, icebergs consist of frozen freshwater rather than saltwater, despite floating in the ocean.
The majority of icebergs in the Northern Hemisphere originate from glaciers in Greenland, an autonomous territory under Danish jurisdiction. Occasionally, these icebergs are carried southward by ocean currents into the North Atlantic.
Additionally, icebergs also break off from glaciers located in the state of Alaska in the United States. In the Southern Hemisphere, nearly all icebergs calve from the landmass of Antarctica.
Icebergs come in various sizes and types.Some icebergs, known as bergy bits, are small pieces of floating sea ice that extend no more than five meters above the ocean’s surface. Even smaller than bergy bits are growlers. On the other hand, icebergs can also reach immense proportions.
In the vicinity of Antarctica, certain icebergs can be as colossal as the Italian island of Sicily, which happens to be the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly, only a fraction of an iceberg, approximately one-eighth, is visible above the waterline.
The majority of its mass lies beneath the water’s surface. This is the origin of the phrase “tip of the iceberg,” which signifies that only a portion of an idea or problem is known or visible.
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how big is the biggest iceberg: A23A OR B15?
In 1986, a massive ice formation known as A23a detached from the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf and became grounded on the floor of the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. This iceberg measures approximately 400 meters in thickness and spans an area of nearly 4,000 square kilometers.
To put it into perspective, this is larger than Greater London, which covers an area of 1,572 square kilometers. However, after almost thirty years, A23a has likely diminished in size enough to release its hold on the seafloor as part of the natural growth cycle of the ice shelf.
Scientists Ella Gilbert and Oliver Marsh from the British Antarctic Survey have stated that the iceberg is now in motion.
Over the years, A23a has held the distinction of being the “largest current iceberg” on multiple occasions, although it has been occasionally surpassed by larger icebergs like A68 in 2017 and A76 in 2021.
Carried by ocean currents, A23a is expected to continue its eastward journey, currently traveling at a rate of five kilometers per day.
world’s largest iceberg b15
Iceberg B-15, which originated from the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica in March 2000, holds the distinction of being the largest iceberg ever recorded in terms of area.
Spanning approximately 295 by 37 kilometers (159 by 20 nautical miles), it boasted a surface area of 11,000 square kilometers (3,200 square nautical miles), roughly equivalent to the size of Jamaica.
Over time, this colossal iceberg fragmented into smaller pieces, with the largest fragment being named Iceberg B-15-A.
In 2003, Iceberg B-15A gradually drifted away from Ross Island and made its way into the Ross Sea, eventually embarking on a northward journey.
By October 2005, it had disintegrated into multiple smaller icebergs. Fast forward to 2018, a substantial portion of the original iceberg was steadily advancing northward, positioned between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island.
As of December 2022, the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) continues to monitor a specific section of Iceberg B-15, which surpasses the minimum observation requirement of 70 square kilometers (20 square nautical miles).
This particular fragment, known as B-15ab, measures 20 kilometers by 7 kilometers (11 nautical miles by 4 nautical miles). Presently, it is located in close proximity to the Antarctic coastline within the western sector of the Amery region.