The finding is the first direct observation of such a connection between tsunamis and icebergs, a NASA release said Monday.
Using multiple satellite images, NASA researchers were able to observe new icebergs floating off to sea shortly after the tsunami swell reached Antarctica.
Arriving 8,000 miles away from the epicenter 18 hours after the earthquake, the tsunami broke off several chunks of ice that together equaled about two times the surface area of Manhattan, scientists say.
"In the past, we've had calving events where we've looked for the source. It's a reverse scenario -- we see a calving and we go looking for a source," Kelly Brunt, a cryosphere specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said. "We knew right away this was one of the biggest events in recent history -- we knew there would be enough swell. And this time we had a source."