World's largest iceberg weighing 1 TRILLION tons and extending for 40 MILES breaks away from Antarctica

World's largest iceberg breaks away from Antarctica

World's largest iceberg weighing 1 TRILLION tons and extending for 40 MILES breaks away from Antarctica

Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 06/12/2023

- 21:07

The iceberg is so large that it is impossible to see end-to-end with the naked eye

The world’s largest iceberg has broken away from Antarctica and is making its way towards open waters as climate change fears surge.

Grounded for decades, the iceberg known as A23a, has become dislodged from the ocean floor and has now begun to drift into the open ocean.

Video released by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) shows the one trillion-ton block of ice starting to move away from Antarctica.

A23a is approximately 40 miles wide, meaning it stretches for as far as the eye can see.

WATCH HERE: Giant iceberg breaks away from Antarctica

Putting this further into perspective, the colossal ice block is three times larger than New York City.

The iceberg broke off from the Filchner Ice Shelf in August 1986 but became stuck on the ocean floor following its initial breakaway.

“It started moving minutely in 2020, but as you can see from the time-lapse, it started picking up speed in early 2022,” Em Newton, a digital communications officer for the BAS, told Fox News.

Recent satellite images show the iceberg, which once hosted a Soviet research station, is now drifting quickly past the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, aided by strong winds and currents.

RRS Sir David Attenborough

RRS Sir David Attenborough witnessed the iceberg moving


“It is incredibly lucky that the iceberg’s route out of the Weddell Sea sat directly across our planned path, and that we had the right team aboard to take advantage of this opportunity,” Dr Andrew Meijers, Chief Scientist aboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough and Polar Oceans Science Leader at British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said in a statement.

According to Newton, the iceberg will be swept along by currents and will enter a stretch of ocean called “iceberg alley” as it melts away.

Following news of the breakaway, Robbie Mallett, a sea ice scientist and research fellow at University College London, explained it was concerning as it acted as a reminder of constant climate change.

Satellite imagery of the iceberg

Satellite imagery of the iceberg


“It is the world’s biggest iceberg currently; it took that title back recently,” he told CNBC.

“And it is kind of a metaphor for how massive the cryosphere is, how big Antarctica is.

“It’s just astonishingly big and it’s a reminder of how much risk we’re at from sea level rise.”

Gail Whiteman, professor of sustainability at the University of Exeter, added: “The poles will determine the fate of humanity.

“The discussion here should be about the polar regions because they are tipping first — and once they do, the issue of adaptation becomes that much more critical.

“The Arctic and the Antarctic seem very far away, so if this huge iceberg can do one thing, it is to remind us that there are big systems out there and our future is intrinsically linked to that.”

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