Watch the world's largest iceberg break free in Antarctica

Iceberg A-76 is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This GIF shows the A-76 iceberg breaking free and compares its size to the Spanish island of Majorca.

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA

Up until mid-May, iceberg A-23A in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica was the largest berg in the world. No longer. The new heavyweight champion is A-76, a hunk of ice that measures 1,670 square miles (4,320 square kilometers). You could fit all of Rhode Island onto it with room to spare.

The European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite mission got a view from space of the new iceberg breaking away from the Ronne Ice Shelf on May 13. ESA shared the sequence as a GIF on Thursday, and compared the berg to the size of the Spanish island of Majorca.

The A-23A iceberg, which had been the biggest, measures 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers). "Icebergs are traditionally named from the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted, then a sequential number, then, if the iceberg breaks, a sequential letter," said ESA.

While there are worrying issues with ice and climate change, the calving of A-76 from the ice shelf isn't setting off scientific alarm bells. In a statement Friday, the British Antarctic Survey said that the calving is a natural event.

BAS glaciologist Alex Brisbourne said, "We know that the ocean around Antarctica is warming as a result of global heating but the Weddell Sea, where iceberg A-76 sits, is not currently experiencing this warming."