Antarctica’s Largest Iceberg Is About to Die … Near the Equator

After 18 years of drifting, Antarctica’s largest iceberg is about to melt away near South America. Credit: NASA/ International Space Station
If being far from home ever gets you down, just be glad you aren’t also melting. NASA scientists reported that, after drifting for nearly 20 years, the largest iceberg ever to break away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf is about to disappear forever.

By Brandon Specktor |

Now floating northwest of the South Georgia islands near the tail of South America, the iceberg — named B-15 — has traveled more than 6,600 miles (10,000 kilometers) from the ice shelf and is veering dangerously close to the equator. [Photos: Diving Beneath Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf]

Satellite images taken from the International Space Station (ISS) on May 22 confirm that the remains of the iceberg are on a crash course with warm tropical waters, where growing pools of meltwater will soon „work [their] way through the iceberg like a set of knives,“ NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt said in a statement.

The freewheelin‘, formerly Connecticut-size iceberg first embarked on its long cruise after breaking away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000, NASA said. At the time, it was the largest single chunk of ice ever to split off from the shelf, measuring 160 nautical miles long and 20 nautical miles wide. (That’s a total area of 3,200 square nautical miles — larger than the island of Jamaica.)

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