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Two new icebergs break off from giant iceberg A68a

Sentinel-1 satellite imagery of two new icebergs, A68E and A68F, breaking off from A68a on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of European Space Agency
Sentinel-1 satellite imagery of two new icebergs, A68E and A68F, breaking off from A68a on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of European Space Agency

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Two new icebergs broke off from iceberg A68a in the South Atlantic Ocean a few days after another fragment calved, the U.S. National Ice Center confirmed Tuesday.

A68a has been floating off South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean's British Overseas Territory of South Georgia since it calved from Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017 and broke into parts.

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Experts have been watching to see if it will ground in shallow water, which could interfere with penguins and seals hunting for fish, BBC reported.

European Union's Sentinel-1 radar spacecraft image showed that it shattered early Tuesday morning.

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Since then, it has reduced in size, but could still could present challenges to South Georgia's marine predators. Satellites will continue to monitor fragments as they skirt the continental shelf.

"Nearly three-and-a-half years since it calved away from Larsen C Ice Shelf, Iceberg A68a -- the fourth largest on record -- is finally beginning to disintegrate," observer Adrian Luckman of Swansea University in Britain told the BBC.

The two new icebergs, A68f, and A68e, calved from A68a in the South Atlantic Ocean just three days after A68d was calved, according to the U.S. National Ice Center.

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A68 was about a quarter the size of Wales when it first calved from Antarctica, and the A68a remnant Tuesday was still bigger than Greater London, which covers about 580 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) of land, according to the BBC.

The BBC report noted that the iceberg break off wasn't related much to climate change since it came from a part of the Antarctic that was still very cold.

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