World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island

The world’s largest iceberg is depicted on its way to South Georgia Island, a British overseas territory.

An RAF aircraft has captured unique images of the 4,200 square kilometer block, known as A68a, in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The photos show cracks and fissures in the main body of the iceberg and ice debris in the surrounding waters.

Squadron Leader Michael Wilkinson said, “I know I speak on behalf of all crew members involved when I say that this is certainly a unique and memorable task to be involved in.”



Due to its size, it was impossible to capture it all at once from the A400M, according to the British Forces South Atlantic Islands conducting the mission.

The iceberg has traveled about 1,050 km in the three years since breaking off Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf.

When it broke away from Antarctica in July 2017, it was nearly 6,000 square kilometers in size.



World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island


World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island

Experts have said they were surprised that the mass of the ice has not lost more of its mass as it moved over the years.

Several scientists have said they expected it to break to pieces long before, BBC news reports.

The gigantic ice mass was about 200 km from South Georgia when the images were taken.



World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island

Scientists have warned of the potential threat the iceberg could pose to the island’s ecosystem if it becomes trapped in the shallow waters surrounding the British Overseas Territory.

Researchers in the region said if A68a crashes, it could cause problems for the island’s seals and penguins, as their access to food – mainly fish and krill – could be limited.



World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island

This can be a major problem for puppies as they are at risk of starving if food is not readily available.

Scientists have also warned that if the iceberg crashes, it could lie in South Georgia for as long as 10 years.



World's largest iceberg crumbles as it careers towards UK-controlled island

Professor Geraint Tarling of the British Antarctic Survey said: “A close-in iceberg has huge implications for where predators can forage on land.

“When you talk about penguins and seals in the period that is really crucial to them, raising young and chicks, the actual distance they have to travel to find food really matters.

“If they have to make a big detour, it means that they will not get back to their young in time to prevent them from starving in the meantime.

“Ecosystems can and will bounce back, of course, but there is a danger that if this iceberg gets stuck, it could stay there for 10 years.

“And that would make a huge difference, not only to the South Georgia ecosystem, but also to the economy.”

The new images will be analyzed to try to understand how the iceberg might behave in the coming weeks and months.

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