Last week, the world’s largest iceberg, known as A23a, suddenly started moving again. Coincidentally, the giant iceberg also drifted along the path of the research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough. The scientists on board thus obtained a unique view of the enormous ice mass and released stunning drone images of it.
Iceberg A23a has an area of 4,000 square kilometres, more than three times the size of New York City, and was once part of the West Antarctica ice shelf, south of Chile. But in 1986 the A23a collapsed from that. The iceberg then became stuck at the bottom of the Weddell Sea. Until last week, when the ice pack started drifting again. This was captured via satellite images. The A23a was floating along an “iceberg pass” on its way to South Georgia Island.
This was along the path of the research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough as it headed south. Andrew Myers, the ship’s chief scientist, said they were “extremely lucky” to have the “right team on board.” British researchers had the opportunity to admire and inspect the iceberg live. They also took drone photos and released them to the rest of the world.
“We are fortunate that the transition to A23a did not impact the tight timing of our science mission,” Myers added. “It’s amazing to see this massive mountain in real life – it extends as far as the eye can see.” The team took samples of seawater around the glacier to see how it affected the carbon content in the water.
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