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World’s Largest Iceberg Breaks Free After 30 Years - Infographics

The world’s biggest iceberg, which split from the Antarctic coastline in 1986 to become stuck to the ocean floor for over 30 years, is about to spill beyond Antarctic waters.

Northern edge of Iceberg B-15A in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, 29 January 2001. Photo: NSF/Josh Landis, employee 1999-2001, Wikimedia Commons

The iceberg, called A23a, is almost 4,000 sq km in area, roughly three times the size of New York City and more than twice the size of Greater London.

Since calving off West Antarctica's Filchner Ice Shelf in 1986, the iceberg, which once hosted a Soviet research station, has largely been stranded after its base became stuck on the floor of the Weddell Sea.

But in the past year, it has seen it drifting at speed, and the iceberg is now about to spill beyond Antarctic waters.

As it gains steam, the colossal berg will likely be ejected into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which will throw it towards the South Atlantic on a path known as “iceberg alley,” where others can be found bobbing in dark waters.

It's possible that A23a could become grounded at South Georgia Island. That might disrupt
It's a delicate ecosystem.