This incredible image shows the world’s largest iceberg drifting towards the world’s most volatile water masses.
The A-76A Antarctic iceberg is the largest remaining chunk of what was once the largest floating iceberg in the world’s oceans and is twice the size of London.
The images were taken by NASA’s Terra satellite and show A-76A en route to the Drake Passage, which is located between South America’s Cape Horn, Chile, and the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctica and is one of the most treacherous voyages for ships on the planet.
The iceberg’s parent iceberg, A-76, broke away from the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica in May 2021 and was the largest iceberg on the planet at the time. Within a month, the iceberg lost that status when it broke into three named pieces. The largest of those pieces – Iceberg A-76A – is now drifting nearly 1,200 miles into the Drake Passage.
Despite the long journey, the size of the iceberg remains remarkably unchanged. In June 2021, the US National Ice Center (USNIC) reported that the A-76A was approximately 84 miles long and 16 miles wide. In October 2022, USNIC reported that the iceberg retained the same dimensions.
It remains to be seen where the A-76A will drift next. It was already more than 310 miles north of its position in July 2022, when the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite showed the iceberg passing the Antarctic Peninsula.
As they continue to drift north, the icebergs are usually pushed east by the powerful Antarctic Circumpolar Current that passes through the Drake Passage. From this point, icebergs often head north towards the equator and melt rapidly in the warmer waters of the region.