Iceberg five times the size of Malta breaks away from Antartica

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A massive iceberg that is five times the size of Malta has broken away from Antarctica.

The D28 iceberg – which is 1,582 square kilometres – was captured by the European Union Earth Observation Programme breaking away from the Amery ice shelf.

But scientists have stressed that not only had the “calving” of the iceberg been predicted for almost two decades, but the D28 is “small relative to some of the largest icebergs in history.”

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has just produced its biggest iceberg in more than 50 years. The calved block covers 1,636 sq km in area – a little smaller than Scotland’s Isle of Skye – and is called D28. The scale of the berg means it will have to be monitored and tracked because it could in future pose a hazard to shipping.

Not since the early 1960s has Amery calved a bigger iceberg. That was a whopping 9,000 sq km in area.

Amery is the third largest ice shelf in Antarctica, and is a key drainage channel for the east of the continent. The shelf is essentially the floating extension of a number of glaciers that flow off the land into the sea. Losing bergs to the ocean is how these ice streams maintain equilibrium , balancing the input of snow upstream.

So, scientists knew this calving event was coming. What’s interesting is that much attention in the area had actually been focussed just to the east of the section that’s now broken away.

Via Copernicus / BBC / Euronews

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