World´s largest iceberg Calve from coast of South Georgia

Credit: pixabay.com

The world's (former) largest iceberg continues to break apart into smaller pieces on the doorstep of a major marine wildlife haven and home to millions of macaroni and king penguins in Antarctica. 

This comes less than a week after the mammoth iceberg, known as A68a, first split in two, Live Science reported

Scientists at the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) spotted the two newest pieces, A68e and A68f, on Dec. 22 using images from the Sentinel-1A satellite, according to a USNIC statement. This means that there are now four separate iceberg fragments, including A68d, which will eventually drift away from one another.

In what was expected to be a busy December from A-68A’s close approach to South Georgia Island and its eventual breakup, the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) has confirmed two new icebergs calved from A-68A in the South Atlantic Ocean. These new icebergs come just three days after A-68D was calved. The new iceberg named A-68E is located at 56° 45' South and 36° 34' West. A-68E measures 33 nautical miles on its longest axis and 8 nautical miles on its widest axis. The new iceberg A-68F is located at 56° 32' South and 36° 51' West. A-68F measures 14 nautical miles on its longest axis and 7 nautical miles on its widest axis.

A-68E and A68-F were first spotted by USNIC Ice Analyst Michael Lowe and confirmed by USNIC Ice Analyst Chris Readinger using the Sentinel-1A image shown below.

Iceberg names are derived from the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted. The quadrants are divided counter-clockwise in the following manner:

A = 0-90W (Bellingshausen/Weddell Sea)
B = 90W-180 (Amundsen/Eastern Ross Sea)
C = 180-90E (Western Ross Sea/Wilkesland)
D = 90E-0 (Amery/Eastern Weddell Sea)

When first sighted, an iceberg’s point of origin is documented by the USNIC. The letter of the quadrant, along with a sequential number, is assigned to the iceberg. For example, C-19 is sequentially the 19th iceberg tracked by the USNIC in Antarctica between 180-90E (Quadrant C). Icebergs with letter suffixes have calved from already named icebergs, where the letters are added in sequential order. For example, C-19D, is the 4th iceberg to calve off the original C-19 iceberg.

The National Ice Center is a tri-agency operational center represented by the United States Navy (Department of Defense), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce), and the United States Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security). The National Ice Center mission is to provide the highest quality strategic and tactical ice services tailored to meet the operational requirements of U.S. national interests and to provide specialized meteorological and oceanographic services to United States government agencies.

Source: usicecenter.gov, Live Science

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