Science

A-76 Is Over 100 Miles Long


Iceberg A-76, measures around 4320 sq km in size (170 km in length and 25 km wide) – currently making it the largest berg in the world. Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

An enormous iceberg has calved from the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf, lying in the Weddell Sea, in Antarctica. The iceberg, dubbed A-76, measures around 4320 sq km in size – currently making it the largest berg in the world.

Spotted in recent images captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, the iceberg is around 170 km (~105 miles) in length and 25 km wide (~15 miles), and is slightly larger than the Spanish island of Majorca.

The enormity of the berg makes it the largest in the world, snatching first place from the A-23A iceberg (approximately 3880 sq km in size) which is also located in the Weddell Sea. In comparison, the A-74 iceberg that broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in February earlier this year, was only 1270 sq km.

A-76 Breaking Off Ronne Ice Shelf

The world’s largest iceberg, dubbed A-76, has calved from Antarctica. This animation uses images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and shows the giant slab of ice breaking off from the Ronne Ice Shelf, lying in the Weddell Sea, on May 13, 2021. Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The iceberg was spotted by the British Antarctic Survey and confirmed from the US National Ice Center using Copernicus Sentinel-1 imagery. The Sentinel-1 mission consists of two polar-orbiting satellites that rely on C-band synthetic aperture radar imaging, returning data regardless of whether it is day or night, allowing us year-round viewing of remote regions like Antarctica.

Icebergs are traditionally named from the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted, then a sequential number, then, if the iceberg breaks, a sequential letter.





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