A large iceberg was spotted off an island about halfway between Antarctica and Australia, a rare sight in waters so far north, Australian scientists said on Thursday.

Australian Antarctic Division researchers working on Macquarie Island, about 1,500 kilometres southeast of Tasmania, first saw the iceberg last Thursday about 8 kilometres off the northwest coast of the island.

The iceberg, about 160 feet high and 1,640 feet long, is probably part of one of several larger icebergs that broke off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf between 2000 and 2002, Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young said.

Several icebergs have been drifting slowly northward with the ocean current toward the island over the past year, but it is uncommon for them to move so far into warmer northern waters, he said.

The scientists believe the iceberg will break up and melt rapidly as it continues its journey north.

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