The world’s largest iceberg is finally set to disappear after an 18-year-long journey to the equator
- The massive iceberg broke away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000
- It has travelled 6,600 miles on its journey towards the equator
- Once 4,250 square miles in size, Nasa now believes the immense iceberg is about to melt, as it heads towards warmer tropical waters
The world’s largest iceberg has broken-up after an 18-year-long journey from Antarctica towards the equator.
After breaking away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, the behemoth floated along three-quarters of the way around Antarctica, some 6,600 miles (10,000 kilometres).
However, the latest images from the International Space Station have revealed that the 4,250 square mile (11,000 square kilometres) island of ice has now drifted north of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean.
As the immense iceberg now heads into warmer waters, Nasa has predicted that it is now likely to disappear.
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The world’s largest iceberg has broken up after an 18-year-long journey from Antarctica towards the equator. After breaking away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in 2000, the behemoth floated aimlessly for more than 6,600 miles (10,000 kilometres)
The iceberg has broken down into several smaller chunks, and today only four remain larger than 20 square nautical miles, which is the size needed for the icebergs to be tracked by the US National Ice Centre
In March 2000, the iceberg – which is larger than the island of Jamaica – broke away from the main continent.
Scientists had never seen an iceberg of its size and named it B-15.
Since then, the iceberg has spent most of its time floating in the frigid waters around the Antarctic.
However, in the 12-months or so, it was caught in northerly currents which changed its trajectory, Nasa said.
In March 2000, the iceberg, which is larger than the island of Jamaica, broke away from the main continent. Scientists had never seen an iceberg of this size and named it B-15
Images from the International Space Station have revealed that the 3,200 square nautical mile island of ice is drifting north past South Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean
Since then, the iceberg has broken down into several smaller chunks.
Today, only four blocks of ice larger than 20 square nautical miles remain.
If the chunks of iceberg get any smaller, it will be impossible for them to be tracked by the US National Ice Centre.
The largest of these, named B-15Z, measures 50 square nautical miles.
B-15Z currently has a large fracture in the middle and several smaller pieces are already falling away, according to latest photos taken from the ISS in late May.
According to Nasa, icebergs have been known to rapidly melt once they drift into the warmer waters past South Georgia.
HOW CAN AN ICEBERG PROVIDE WATER FOR DROUGHT-STRICKEN AREAS?
There have been several attempts at moving icebergs to end droughts.
In 2017, the UAE was experiencing severe water shortages and a project was set up to tow an iceberg to the region.
These plans involved harvesting icebergs from Heard Island, around 600 miles (1,000 kilometres) off the coast of mainland Antarctica.
The only details provided at the time, was that towing would be the most likely method.
South Africa in 2018 is experiencing its worst drought for a century.
A renowned marine salvage master from the country also believes towing an iceberg could be the answer.
Cape Town-based Nick Sloane, director of Resolve Marine, wants to tow a rogue iceberg 1,200 miles form the Antarctic ocean to Cape Town.
He intends to do this by using a material skirt, made of a specialist geotextile, which would fit around the underside of the huge chunk of ice.
In order for this to be successful, the iceberg must be of specific size and shape, with steep sides.
Huge tankers would guide and pull the iceberg through the water and the skirt would help reduce evaporation.
A milling machine would then then cut into the ice, producing a slurry and forming a saucer structure that will speed up the natural process, he said.
The removal of the salt from the water would require huge desalination plants, and a large injection of cash to build plants capable of processing several thousand tonnes.
The largest of the remaining bergs, named B-15Z, measures 50 square nautical miles. This already has a large fracture in the middle and several smaller pieces are already falling away, according to images taken from space in late May
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