"The team was stunned": Ukrainian polar explorers discovered the possible fragments of the world's largest iceberg. Photo
Ukrainian polar explorers continue to explore the Antarctic. The Noosphere icebreaker, the flagship of the national research fleet, has opened its third Antarctic season. The team recently made an unexpected discovery.
On the night of December 6, a team of polar explorers reached King George Island in the Antarctic and discovered the possible wreckage of the world's largest iceberg. The details were provided by the National Antarctic Science Center.
From Cape Town to the Antarctic
On November 17, Noosphere left Cape Town, South Africa, for the Antarctic. The journey lasted 19 days, and the sea voyage was not easy. The team of polar explorers led by Captain Oleksandr Hryshko faced storms, but skillfully avoided dangerous areas. Severe weather prevailed in the stormiest Drake Passage, but they managed to successfully bypass it as well.
In total, the Noosphere's journey from Cape Town to King George was 6,638 km.
The world's largest iceberg
On the night of December 6, Kyiv time, the icebreaker reached the Antarctic. The Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station is located on King George Island.
The captain noted that something surprised the team. They saw icebergs much earlier than in previous years, from 58 degrees latitude.
Polar explorers have speculated that these could be remains from the huge 4,000-square-kilometer iceberg A23a. The giant iceberg was just passing the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in November, and it started moving for the first time in three decades.
The A23a iceberg broke off the Antarctic coastline in August 1986, but the ice block immediately stopped, sinking into the muddy bottom. For a long time, the giant remained motionless, but recently, experts from the British Antarctic Survey, having analyzed satellite images, concluded that the iceberg had undergone significant changes. The movement of the ice floe began around 2020. In three years, it has shrunk in size and lost its grip on the ice.
The ice floe is about 400 meters thick. The researchers believe that the largest iceberg will drift along with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (the West Wind Current) and then end up in the southern Atlantic Ocean, where it will finally melt, like all icebergs.
Currently, the icebreaker is in the process of unloading. The polar explorers are bringing ashore 9 containers with almost 450 tons of various items and 140 thousand liters of fuel for the Polish station. On December 11, the Noosphere will set sail for the Vernadsky Research Base.