An iceberg about the size of Delaware could hit the island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean, according to the British Antarctic Survey, potentially harming local wildlife.
The British government research organization said in a statement Wednesday that the exact path of the iceberg, which broke off from Antarctica in 2017, is not known.
Geraint Tarling, an ecologist at British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement that if the iceberg gets stuck against South Georgia, a U.K. territory, it could remain for 10 years.
“An iceberg has massive implications for where land-based predators might be able to forage,” Tarling said.
“When you’re talking about penguins and seals during the period that’s really crucial to them — during pup- and chick-rearing — the actual distance they have to travel to find food…really matters. If they have to do a big detour, it means they’re not going to get back to their young in time to prevent them starving to death in the interim,” the ecologist added.
Tarling said the iceberg may have some positive effects, however, saying that dust from it could fertilize ocean plankton, which absorb carbon from the atmosphere.