A Massive Iceberg Detaches and Begins to Drift After 30 Years

by Joshua Brown
Antarctic iceberg movement

A colossal iceberg, identified as A23a, has embarked on a journey beyond the waters of Antarctica, having been anchored for over thirty years, reports the British Antarctic Survey.

Originally separating from the Filchner Ice Shelf in the Antarctic in 1986, A23a remained immobile, anchored to the seabed within the Weddell Sea for an extended period.

Spanning an impressive area of approximately 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 square miles), the iceberg is notably larger than New York City by threefold and surpasses the size of Greater London twofold.

According to Andrew Fleming, a specialist in remote sensing at the British Antarctic Survey, who spoke to the BBC recently, the iceberg has been mobile for the last year. It is now seen to be accelerating its movement away from the northern extremity of the Antarctic Peninsula, influenced by the forces of wind and ocean currents.

Discussing the phenomenon with colleagues, Fleming inquired if shifts in the temperatures of the shelf waters might have triggered the movement. However, the general agreement was that it was simply time for the iceberg to move. “It had been stationary since 1986, but it was inevitable that it would reduce in size to a point where it would break free and begin to drift,” he explained.

Fleming noticed the iceberg’s initial movement in 2020. The British Antarctic Survey has confirmed that A23a has now detached from its grounding and is following ocean currents towards the sub-Antarctic region of South Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Antarctic iceberg movement

What is the size of the iceberg A23a, and how does it compare to cities like New York and London?

The iceberg A23a measures around 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 square miles), making it three times the size of New York City and more than twice the size of Greater London.

Since when has the iceberg A23a been grounded, and where was it located?

The A23a iceberg had been grounded since 1986 in the Weddell Sea, after splitting from the Antarctic’s Filchner Ice Shelf.

What caused the iceberg A23a to start drifting?

The iceberg A23a began drifting due to a decrease in its size over time, which eventually led to its detachment from the ocean floor. Wind and ocean currents have also played a role in its movement.

Where is the iceberg A23a currently heading?

After detaching, the iceberg A23a is now moving along ocean currents towards the sub-Antarctic region of South Georgia.

Who reported the movement of the iceberg A23a and who first noticed its movement?

The British Antarctic Survey reported the movement of the iceberg A23a. Andrew Fleming, a remote sensing expert from the Survey, was the first to notice its movement in 2020.

More about Antarctic iceberg movement

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SailorSam November 25, 2023 - 8:47 pm

Been following A23a since i heard about it first, pretty fascinating to see it move, it’s like watching history unfold in the ocean.

GlobalTrendWatcher November 26, 2023 - 6:04 am

This could be a sign of changing climate patterns? the fact that A23a stayed put for over 30 years and now suddenly starts drifting, seems significant.

Mike237 November 26, 2023 - 8:15 am

wow, this is huge news! literally and figuratively, Can’t believe that A23a’s been stuck there since 86′, and now it’s finally on the move.

nature_lover November 26, 2023 - 9:07 am

it’s amazing how nature works… this iceberg’s been a part of antarctica for so long, now it’s heading to new places, Wonder what impact it’ll have on the marine life there.


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