A trillion-ton iceberg the size of the American state of Delaware has been on the move since breaking off Antarctica in July 2017.
The iceberg will probably bump around in its current location near the ice shelf that calved it for at least a few months, periodically getting stuck on shallow seamounts on the ocean floor, said Theodore Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. “There are lots of little pinnacles that can snag an iceberg,” Scambos told Live Science.
At around 2,240 square miles (5,800 square kilometers) in surface area, the iceberg is among the largest iceberg observed since satellite tracking began. “I think, right now, it would be the biggest floating object on the ocean,” said Scambos.
The iceberg was bumping around like a huge bobbing bath toy. It mashed into the side of the Larsen ice shelf a handful of times in the past year, splintering off several smaller bergs.
“Eventually, with snags and twists and bends and probably a little bit of inherent rotation … it will drift to the north,” Scambos said. The giant iceberg will get caught up in a current called the West Wind Drift, or Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which will pull the berg into warmer waters, where it will break up and melt, Scambos said.