Giant Antarctic iceberg A68a splits into three

A huge iceberg heading towards the island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean has split into three large chunks. NASA scientists are tracking the berg, called A68a. It actually split from the Larsen C ice shelf in 2017 and has been floating northwards ever since. In recent weeks, a fast-moving stream of water in the Southern Antarctic has put the chunks on a course that means they could run aground off the coast of South Georgia. Scientists say the three fragments are about 2,600 square kilometres in size. The underwater part of one chunk is 106 metres deep.

The bulk of the three iceberg chunks is a serious threat to the wildlife of South Georgia. It is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. If the chunks collide with the seabed, they could obstruct penguins and seals from looking for fish. They could also block the penguins' route to their feeding grounds during the breeding season. The bottom of the chunks could rake up the seabed near South Georgia and disrupt delicate ecosystems. This could be made worse by a mass of fresh water entering the ecosystems as the stationary chunks melt over the summer.