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Giant Antarctic Iceberg still Crumbles



 

Jonathan Amos - BBC Science CorrespondentWed, December 23, 2020, 6:17 PM CST

It might have suffered a big break-up this week, but the iceberg A68a is still carrying substantial bulk. The latest satellite analysis indicates this Antarctic colossus maintains a thickness that could yet see it catch in the waters surrounding the South Atlantic island of South Georgia. If that happens, then worries about the effects the berg could have on the territory's wildlife will resurface. Penguins and seals might be obstructed as they forage for fish and krill. And these predators need to feed not only themselves, but their young as well. South Georgia is entering peak breeding season. The Royal Air Force flew another sortie over A68a on Monday to assess the situation. This page features video and stills from this reconnaissance mission.

The military flight occurred just after a new chunk, A68d, broke from the main block - but before the major fragmentation event on Tuesday. This saw A68a split into three substantial segments. What had looked like "a pointing hand" snapped its "index finger and knuckles". The breakages occurred along predictable lines of weakness that have been evident ever since the berg fist calved from Antarctica in 2017.

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