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Massive iceberg which broke off from Antarctica could 'cause problems for wildlife' - researcher

One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded broke away from Antarctica this week, with the Director of the Antarctic Research Centre Andrew Mackintosh saying it may have an impact on local wildlife.

He also said the break off is a naturally occurring phenomenon, with big ice-shelves like the one it was attached to naturally loosing icebergs every so often due to massive build up over time.

The natural event doesn't necessarily mean the environment won't be negatively impacted though, Mr Mackintosh told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"These icebergs don't usually take a straightforward course out of Antarctica they crash into the coast which can cause problems for wildlife, penguin colonies and so on.

"They can scrape on the ocean floor destroying all of the marine life there as well."

We shouldn't be keeping an eye out for the frozen mass off our shores anytime soon though: "The iceberg is more likely to head up to South America near the Falkland Islands," Mr Mackintosh said.

Amazingly it isn't the largest recorded iceberg to break away from Antarctica, even though it is roughly six-times the size of Auckland, as one twice the size broke off the Ross Ice-shelf 17 years-ago.
 

The Director of the Antarctic Research Centre says the iceberg will cause problems for local wildlife. Source: Breakfast