World’s biggest iceberg the size of Majorca breaks off Antarctica and floats off

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A huge chunk of ice bigger than Majorca has broken off the South Pole and and floated off into the sea.

The European Space Agency estimated it's now the biggest iceberg in the world.

Designated A-76 by scientists, the newly sheared berg spans more than 1,500 square miles and measures 106 miles by 15 miles.

Glaciologist Ted Scambos said the sharding was not linked to climate change and that the break-off is part of the earth's natural cycle.

He told Reuters A-76 is likely to break into two or three pieces soon – and lose its crown as the world's biggest iceberg.

That honour will once again be held by A-23A, a 1,305 square mile-size giant also floating just off Antarctica in the Weddell Sea.

A-76 was first spotted by the British Antarctic Survey and confirmed by the US National Ice Center with the help of two orbiting satellites.

Antarctic icebergs of this scale threaten small islands populated by penguins and seals as they cut the animals off vital sea access.

The creatures would have to navigate around the ice masses to find food, leading to a more difficult task and costing the animals' lives.

A-76 broke off from the Ronne Ice Shelf before drifting away into the Weddell Sea by the north east corner of Antarctica.

Scientists also said the break-off will not add to the rise in sea levels as ice is made up of the same volume as melted water.

Yet they still pointed out any loss of ice from Antarctica is a concern even if the breakage isn't directly related to climate change.

The calving of A-76 is the biggest sharding off the Ronne shelf in more than 20 years.

Whatever happens to A-76 next, glaciologists remain worried about the gradual shrinkage of ice shelves like the Ronne.

  • Space
  • Science

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