UK research ship crosses paths with world's largest iceberg (WATCH)
The largest iceberg in the world began drifting in recent months, moving into the Southern Ocean. The RRS Sir David Attenborough, which is Britain's polar research ship, had a lucky encounter with the colossal iceberg and collected seawater samples around it.
Britain's polar research ship had an unexpected encounter with the world's largest iceberg. Scientists have gathered saltwater samples surrounding the massive berg as it floats out of Antarctic seas, according to the British Antarctic Survey. The sighting came shortly after specialists verified that the iceberg was "on the move" for the first time in 37 years.
A23a, the world's largest iceberg, is almost 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 square miles) in size, roughly three times the size of New York City. The iceberg equivalent more than twice the size of Greater London had been grounded for more than three decades in the Weddell Sea after it split from the Antarctic's Filchner Ice Shelf in 1986. A drone was used to photograph the unusual iceberg.
The RRS Sir David Attenborough, its route to Antarctica for its debut scientific mission, passed the massive iceberg known as A23a near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on Friday, CBS reported.
The survey also removed the dramatic footage shot by the crew of the ship. The film was shot by Theresa Gossman, Matthew Gascoyne, and Christopher Grey, with assistance from Roseanne Smith, according to a news statement from the British Antarctic Survey.
Laura Taylor, a scientist working on the ship, said the team took samples of ocean surface waters around the iceberg's route to help determine what life could form around it and how the iceberg and others like it impact carbon in the ocean.
The RRS Sir David Attenborough, named after the British naturalist, is on a 10-day scientific mission as part of a 9-million-pound (USD 11.3-million) initiative to examine how Antarctic ecosystems and sea ice affect global carbon and nitrogen cycles. According to the British Antarctic Survey, the findings will assist increase knowledge of how climate change affects the Southern Ocean and the creatures that dwell there.