Antarctica, the new iceberg that has broken off is the size of London

Iceberg broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf on January 22. The huge chunk of ice broke free after the fracture known as Chasm-1 extended fully northward: the fracture had been under control since early 2012

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Antarctica, the new iceberg that has broken off is the size of London

An iceberg the size of London has broken off in Antarctica. Iceberg broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf on January 22. The huge chunk of ice broke free after the fracture known as Chasm-1 extended fully northward: the fracture had been under control since early 2012, when it began to show signs of activity after being dormant for decades, and it was only a matter of time before he met the one on Halloween.

The new iceberg will likely be given the name A-81, while the smaller piece to the north will be identified as A-81A or A-82. Mark Drinkwater of ESA said: "After several years of monitoring, the long-awaited separation of iceberg A81 has finally taken place.

It was perhaps the most detailed and longest-lasting monitoring ever for the calving of an iceberg from a shelf of Antarctic ice. The combination of the images taken by Sentinel-2 during the summer with those captured by the radar of Sentinel-1 in the winter and the rest of the year have allowed us to follow the entire process in detail of the Copernicus satellites to closely monitor platform behavior and stability."

Antarctica, the new iceberg that has broken off is the size of London

The calving of the iceberg could now affect the behavior of the remnants of the Brunt Ice Shelf and other existing cracks, leading to an acceleration of the ice flow towards the sea.

it is a block originating from the crack known as Chasm-1, formed years ago and already large in 2019, as evidenced by the video. While its exact size is difficult to figure out, the iceberg is said to cover an area of 1,550 square kilometers.

It is the second major detachment in the area in the last two years: the discovery took place in the late evening of Sunday 22 January thanks to the numerous instruments installed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). According to a BAS glaciologist, the detachment is not related to global warming.

Professor Dominic Hodgson said: "This calving event was expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It is not related to climate change. Our science and operations teams will continue to monitor the shelf in real time to ensure it is safe." The calving of large bergs can lead to an acceleration of ice flow.

Previously the Brunt flowed westward at a rate of about 3m/day. Now it may experience an acceleration, which could affect the behavior of other cracks in the area. In particular, scientists are taking a very close look at a crack they call the Halloween Crack.

The calving of bergs at the leading edge of an ice shelf is a very natural behavior.