Scientists have been ringing alarm bells for South Georgia Island, whose vibrant ecosystem is in peril as an enormous iceberg is heading its way after it broke off from an Antarctic ice shelf. But not all news in 2020 is bad, and it looks like there is a glimmer of hope for the penguins and seals inhabiting the island.
An iceberg collision with South Georgia Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean, seems less likely now as the ice mountain, which split in two last week, continues to disintegrate.
According to scientists at the US National Ice Centre (USNIC), there are now four fragments of the ice mass drifting in the ocean, which might be good news for the wildlife on the island.
Scientists previously raised concerns that the iceberg might collide with the island and could potentially have disastrous consequences, as king and macaroni penguins, seals, and other animals might be cut off from the ocean, which could disrupt their access to food.
However, now that the iceberg has split into four, the fragments will float away from each other and might pass by the island without hitting it, the scientists say.
Nonetheless, even the already existing pieces – or potential future smaller pieces – could still cause trouble for the island’s wildlife, should they collide with it, which is why researchers will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The iceberg, dubbed A68a, broke off from an Antarctic ice shelf in 2017 and was the world’s largest iceberg until it split into two last week.