World’s Largest Iceberg Forms in Antartica, Larger Than NYC

A giant slab of ice nearly six times the size of New York City split from the frozen coastline of Antartica and into the Weddell Sea, making it the largest iceberg on the planet. 

The iceberg broke away from the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf, which is the second-largest ice shelf in Antartica. 

The new iceberg was first spotted on May 13 by Keith Makinson, a polar oceanographer and drilling engineer for the British Antarctic Survey. 

Chris Readinger, an ice analyst at the U.S. National Ice Center, later confirmed it by using satellite imagery from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission. 

The iceberg, known as A-76, is approximately 1,688 square miles in size, making it slightly bigger than the Spanish Island of Majorca. 

Another iceberg floating in the Weddell Sea, the A-23A, was previously the world’s largest with a surface area of approximately 1,498 square miles, according to the European Space Agency. 

Icebergs are named after the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted, followed by a sequential number, then — if a new iceberg forms from one that is already named — a sequential letter, according to the U.S. National Ice Center. 

Earlier this year, a 490-square mile iceberg broke away from Antartica’s Brunt Ice Shelf into the Weddell Sea. The iceberg was also larger than New York City, which has a land area of about 302 square miles. 

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