Iceberg Larger Than Majorca Broke off from Northern Edge of Antarctica

A mammoth slab of ice has separated from the frozen edge of Antarctica in the Weddell Sea, giving birth to the world's largest iceberg, the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The iceberg, named A-76, has a surface area of around 4,320 square km (1,668 square miles) and measures 175 km (106 miles) long by 25 km (15 miles) wide — making it slightly larger than the Spanish Island of Majorca.

A-76 split from the Ronne Ice Shelf and was first spotted by the British Antarctic Survey.

It was also captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, which involves two polar-orbiting satellites.

The United States National Ice Center confirmed the iceberg using the imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel-1.

The berg took the top spot from the A-23A iceberg which is also afloat in the Weddell Sea and is approximately 3,380 square km (1,305 square miles) in size.

The Ronne Ice Shelf is one of the biggest of several gigantic floating sheets of ice that connect to the continent's landmass and extend out into the surrounding seas.

While regular shearing off of large chunks of the ice shelves is part of a natural cycle, some shelves have experienced rapid break up in the last few years.

Scientists say the phenomenon could be related to climate change, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center


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