Recent satellite images, LiveScience reports, show the jagged outlines of more than a dozen breakaway icebergs circling around South Georgia Island, located about 1,500 kilometers northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula and inhabited by penguins. Each piece is a fragment of the once giant A-68a, which for more than three years bore the title of the largest iceberg in the world, and a few weeks ago split into a dozen pieces. Now every broken piece has its own name, starting with A-68b and ending with A-68M.
Iceberg A-68a broke away from the Larsen Ice Shelf on July 12, 2017. Then its area was 6,000 square kilometers. Despite its impressive size, the iceberg was incredibly thin, which is why, starting in April 2020, it began to lose chunks of ice. At the end of 2020, the A-68a found itself on the path of a collision with South Georgia Island. Scientists feared that the iceberg would hit the island, cut off the path to food for thousands of seals, penguins and other inhabitants and lead to hunger. Fortunately, this did not happen: the A-68a changed course and began to drift around the island even before it fell apart. Nothing threatens animals.
Nevertheless, British researchers are going to study the potential impact of a broken iceberg on water in the vicinity of South Georgia. Two robotic divers will measure water temperature, salinity and transparency around the A-68a remains for several months.