General, Research, Technology

What does the largest iceberg in the world look like and why is it dangerous?

The largest iceberg on our planetconsidered A-68. It was formed in 2017 as a result of the fracture of the Larsen Ice Shelf off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. At the moment, its area is 4200 square kilometers, that is, it twice as large as Moscow... The iceberg is in motion and, according tosatellite imagery, heading towards the British island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic. According to scientists, if by some miracle he does not change the route of his movement, those living on the island are threatened with extinction. And this is not due to the fact that the iceberg will hit the coast with a crash and destroy all living things. The extinction of most animals will occur gradually. In general, the topic is worthy of detailed explanation and is very important, because today many animals are already on the verge of extinction. And then there was also an iceberg.

From space, iceberg A-68 looks like a hand with an index finger.

What is an iceberg?

Icebergs are usually called ice blocks,which broke away from the huge glaciers that cover the continents. They come in all shapes and sizes. Usually the size of the iceberg depends on where it was formed. Icebergs formed at the North Pole (Arctic) are much smaller than those formed at the South Pole (Antarctica). About 90% of icebergs are under water and only a small part of them is visible on the surface. Icebergs are not constant in size because they get bigger during snowfalls. But recently, this has rarely happened, because the air temperature is increasing on our planet. Usually icebergs will gradually melt and get smaller, but this does not mean that they are becoming less dangerous.

The southern icebergs are always larger than the northern ones

Iceberg A-68

The world's largest iceberg A-68 comes fromAntarctica, therefore, is very large. In 2014, scientists noticed a growing crack on the Larsen Glacier and began to suspect that an iceberg would soon break away from it. For a long time, the iceberg was connected to the glacier by a "bridge" about 20 kilometers long. Ultimately, between July 10 and 12, 2017, the iceberg broke from the glacier and went into open swimming. At that time, its area was 5800 square kilometers, and its mass reached about one trillion tons. However, over time, it melted and collapsed, and at the moment its area is 4200 square meters.

Crack on the Larsen glacier

See also: What are green icebergs made of and what are they for?

The danger of the iceberg A-68

According to BBC News, at the momenticeberg A-68 is moving towards the British island of South Georgia and may soon collide with it. According to scientists, it can cause the death of local penguins and seals. But it is not the collision itself that is dangerous, but its consequences. A huge iceberg is able to block the usual paths for finding food and animals will not be able to feed their young. Ultimately, this can lead to a decrease in the animal population.

In addition to penguins, about 23 scientists regularly inhabit South Georgia.

Marine animals are also in great danger. A moving iceberg can crush them. In general, a block of ice is capable of delivering a double blow and destroying an entire ecosystem. The researchers hope that after the disappearance of the iceberg, the animals will be able to restore their former life. But the iceberg can melt only after 10 years, and how long it will take for the animals to restore the population is generally unknown. Over such a long period of time, damage can be caused not only to the ecosystem of the island, but also to its economy.

View of South Georgia from space

There is little hope that the iceberg will have timechange the course of your voyage. According to cartographer Peter Fretwell, an iceberg can loop and turn in a completely different direction. If it does go around the island, it might encounter warm waters that will speed up its melting.

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Iceberg formation is one of the mostamazing phenomena of our planet. These blocks of ice are so huge that scientists are studying them with great difficulty. In early 2020, I talked about the photographer Tobias Friedrich, who was one of the first to show the bottom of the iceberg in a photograph. To capture the amazing footage, Tobias and his team had to drill several holes in the ice and go deeper. You can see what they managed to shoot with the camera in this article.