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The word “iceberg” is of Scandinavian origin and literally translates into Russian as “ice mountain”. These huge blocks of ice, freely drifting in the sea or ocean, usually break off from the ice shelves of the North Pole or Antarctica. Icebergs fascinate with their cold, majestic beauty and awareness of the hidden danger they pose to ships. Above the surface of the water, as a rule, you can see only about 10% of the total ice volume, while most of the iceberg is located deep below. That is why the captains of the ships do their best to stay as far away from these giants as possible – it is very difficult to accurately determine the shape and volume of the lower ice mass in order to avoid collision.
Icebergs are of great interest both to glaciologists and to representatives of many other fields of science. Some scientists are researching them to determine the prospects for global warming, others are trying to use them to solve the problem of water supply in poor and arid countries (although so far to no avail). Be that as it may, icebergs represent one of the most unique and impressive phenomena of inanimate nature. We invite you to find out what the largest icebergs have been known to people throughout history.
Ranking of the largest icebergs in the world
|Ranking of the largest icebergs in the world||8||Iceberg by Joseph Fletcher||90 square kilometers|
|7||Iceberg in the Northern Hemisphere||260 square kilometers|
|6||C19A||5,500 square kilometers|
|5||A-38||6,900 square kilometers|
|4||B15||11,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS|
|2||Santa maria||31,000 square|
|1||Iceberg off the Falkland Islands||–|
Iceberg by Joseph Fletcher
This huge ice island, separated from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, was first discovered in the 40s of the 20th century by an American pilot named Joseph Fletcher, after whom the iceberg was later named. The massif 50 meters thick and 90 square kilometers in area has long served as the location of drifting scientific bases conducting polar research. Towards the 1980s, research activities on the island were curtailed, and the ice island was carried away by the current into the North Atlantic Ocean, where it gradually melted.
Iceberg in the Northern Hemisphere
The ice massif about 200 meters thick, discovered in 2010 near Greenland, was a unique phenomenon, since most often such large blocks are found only near Antarctica. The area of the fragment that broke away from the Peterman glacier in Greenland was 260 square kilometers, which, for example, is four times the size of New York's Manhattan island. Gradually moving southward, it could well become a real threat to the ships of the North Atlantic. Fortunately, he changed his route in time and was melted by the warm current of the Gulf Stream.
This iceberg is located in the western part of the Ross Sea and has been drifting off the coast of Antarctica since 2002. The climatic features of the area in which it found itself contribute to extremely slow melting. The area of the giant ice block reaches 5.5 thousand square kilometers, which is several times larger than the size of London. Despite the inaccessibility of the location of the iceberg, surrounded by other, smaller parts of ice, the researchers managed to install measuring and navigation equipment on it. It is noteworthy that in addition to the official name C19A, he also received the name Melting Bob.
The iceberg, code-named A-38, separated from the Filchner-Ronne Antarctic glacier in 1998. It was 144 kilometers long and 48 kilometers wide and covered an area of approximately 6,900 square kilometers. After a long drift across the North Atlantic, the block of ice split in half, which was recorded by the MODIS satellite in the mid-2000s. Its eastern part moved to the northwest, where it apparently melted, while another section drifted along the coast of South Georgia.
The largest iceberg in the history of our planet was discovered and explored in 2000. This massive ice island with an area of 11 thousand kilometers, which exceeds the size of Jamaica, breakaway from Antarctica, has caused a catastrophic decline in the Adélie penguin population, as it prevented foraging penguins from reaching their calves in time. He was also a serious obstacle to the supply of resources for several scientific polar stations. According to researchers, the weight of this giant was three trillion tons, and there would be enough water in it to feed the Nile River for eight years.
In 2005, B15 lost its title of largest, splitting into several fragments after colliding with the ice tongue of Drygalski.
The infamous iceberg, the collision with which led to the death of the largest liner at the time, the Titanic, separated from the Greenland Glacier. At the time of the collision, its height reached 105 meters, and it weighed about 420 thousand tons. One of the reasons the ship noticed the ice giant's approach too late was its color. It was one of the overturned icebergs, which are significantly darker due to inclusions of veins of denser ice and inclusions of various rocks captured during the drift. Such a “black” iceberg has long been considered by sailors many times more dangerous than ordinary white blocks. After a terrible disaster that killed 1,495 people, he continued to drift until he ran aground near Franz Josef Land.
The tragedy caused by the collision was a powerful impetus for the development of advanced systems for predicting the routes of drifting ice, which made the navigation routes in the northern and southern latitudes safer.
Iceberg 'Santa Maria'
A huge ice massif with an area of 31,000 square kilometers was discovered in 1956 in the northern expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Its length and width were 97 and 55 kilometers, respectively. “Santa Maria” underwent a superficial examination by specialists from the American military icebreaker USS Glacier, but it was not possible to study it more thoroughly, as it soon melted.
Iceberg off the Falkland Islands
The tallest iceberg on the planet was discovered in 1904 in the South Atlantic, near the Falkland Islands. The unique piece of drifting ice amazed scientists, however, unfortunately, the imperfection of the research methodology and technical means of the early 20th century led to the fact that it was never thoroughly investigated. The height of this unnamed iceberg was 450 meters, which exceeds the height of the Empire State Building of one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world.
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