World's largest iceberg on collision course with South Atlantic island

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The world's biggest iceberg is headed straight toward an island in the South Atlantic and has the potential to cause significant damage to wildlife should it become grounded nearby.

Based on currents and weather conditions, Iceberg A68a — which is roughly the size of Delaware — is poised to hit South Georgia this month, according to the Royal Navy.

The BBC reports that because the iceberg is relatively thin — its cliffs rise 30 meters above the surface, while its keel is estimated to be only 200 meters deep — there's a danger it could become grounded just offshore, taking possibly 10 years to melt.

This would devastate the local ecosystem as it would force animals such as king penguins and elephant seals to travel much greater distances to find food. The iceberg would also crush wildlife on the seafloor where it anchors.

However, nutrients released when the iceberg melts would boost the local ecosystem.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Trajectory of Iceberg A68a
2. Size comparisons of South Georgia and Iceberg A68a
3. Depth of seafloor around South Georgia
4. Depiction of wildlife on South Georgia
5. Nutrients released when the iceberg melts will boost the local ecosystem

VOICEOVER (in English):

"The world's biggest iceberg is headed straight toward an island in the South Atlantic and has the potential to cause significant damage to wildlife should it become grounded nearby."

"Based on currents and weather conditions the iceberg — designated A68a — is poised to hit the island of South Georgia this month, according to the Royal Navy."

"South Georgia is a wildlife haven and part of the UK Overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands."

"It is located in the remote southern Atlantic Ocean about 800 miles, or more than 1,000 kilometers, southeast of the Falkland Islands."

"Iceberg A68a is roughly the size of Delaware, while South Georgia is roughly the size of Rhode Island."

"The BBC reports that because the iceberg is relatively thin — its cliffs rise 30 meters above the surface, while its keel is estimated to be only 200 meters deep — there's a danger it could become grounded just offshore, taking possibly 10 years to melt."

"This would devastate the local ecosystem as it would force animals such as king penguins and elephant seals to travel much greater distances to find food."

"The iceberg would also crush wildlife on the seafloor where it parks, causing damage that would take a long time for the ecosystem to bounce back from."

"But it's not all bad news, according to the British Antarctic Survey."

"Once the iceberg melts it will release nutrients from atmospheric dust and volcanic eruptions that have accumulated over thousands of years."

"This will fertilize ocean plankton in the area, and this boost will then rise up the food chain to krill and larger animals."

SOURCES: NASA, Royal Navy, Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, BBC News, British Antarctic Survey
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/147535/iceberg-a-68a-nears-south-georgia
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2020/december/08/20201208-giant-iceberg
https://www.gov.gs/a68aiceberg/
https://www.gov.gs/environment/south-georgia-the-south-sandwich-islands/
https://www.gov.gs/fisheries/overview/
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55237010
https://www.bas.ac.uk/media-post/a68-iceberg-heads-towards-south-georgia/