A massive iceberg struck Antarctica, dislodging another giant block of ice from a glacier, Australian and French scientists said Friday.
The two icebergs are drifting together about 62 to 93 miles (100 to 150 kilometers) off eastern Antarctica following the collision on Feb. 12 or 13, said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young.
The new iceberg is 48 miles (78 kilometers) long and about 24 miles (39 kilometers) wide and holds roughly the equivalent of a fifth of the world’s annual total water usage, Young told The Associated Press.
The iceberg that hit the Mertz Glacier is called B9B and had broken free from another part of Antarctica in 1987. It has been nuzzling and shifting alongside the Mertz for about 18 years before this month’s dislodging, said Benoit Legresy, a researcher with the LEGOS laboratory for geophysical studies in Toulouse, France.
The iceberg contains enough fresh water to support the world’s annual water consumption.
When it breaks off, the iceberg won’t melt straight away because it could take up to 30 years for the currents to move it to water that is warm enough to melt the ice.