Scientists are watching a giant iceberg in the southern Atlantic Ocean saying it appears to be on a collision course with South Georgia Island and could devastate wildlife there, including penguins, seals and albatross.
Britain’s Royal Air Force, or RAF, Tuesday released video taken by an aircraft that flew last week over the 4,200-square-kilometer iceberg — roughly the size of the U.S. state of Delaware — and known as A68a. In the video, cracks and fissures can be seen on its surface, with a number of smaller ice chunks floating nearby.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, reports the iceberg is now within 150 kilometers of the British Overseas Territory.
Researchers have spent weeks watching the iceberg on its potential collision course with the remote island off the coast of South America. A68a is about the same size as the island itself and has been floating in its general direction for more than three years since breaking off from the Antarctic peninsula in July of 2017.
Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey believe the iceberg is about 200 meters thick — relatively thin for an iceberg of its size — which would allow it to get close to the island before becoming stuck. Scientists fear it could crush marine life on the sea floor, and block penguins and seals off from their normal forage routes to feed their young. They say it could be there for as long as 10 years.
British officials say it could also be an obstacle to government ships conducting fishery patrols and surveillance around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
The Antarctic Survey says a collision is still uncertain, as the currents could carry the iceberg past the island.