It is the largest iceberg in the world. However, it has started to fragment. What future awaits you? His name is A-68. This huge block broke off in 2017 from an ice front connected to the Antarctic Peninsula. And now it is gradually starting to lose its mass. The largest iceberg in the world fragmented.
A-68 has an estimated area of 5,100 square kilometers. On April 16, it lost a large fragment of about 175 square kilometers and 19 kilometers in length. The iceberg is currently moving north from the Antarctic Peninsula. It enters rough and warmer waters. Currents should carry it into the South Atlantic.
The beginning of the end
Professor Adrian Luckman tracks the progress of A-68. He said the new break could mark the beginning of the end for this frozen giant. "I'm always amazed that something so thin and fragile has taken so long on the open sea," he said. He is a researcher at the University of Swansea.
"I suspect the last break is now beginning. But the later fragments will probably be with us for years, "he said.
The proof of the separation on Thursday came from a radar picture. It was obtained from the European Union from the Sentinel-1 satellite. Luckman the He published it on his Twitter account.
The name A-68 comes from a classification system managed by the US National Ice Center. USA Divide Antarctica into quadrants. Since the iceberg broke off the Larsen C ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, it was given the designation "A". "68" was the last number in the Plus Size range in this sector.
We should call the iceberg A-68A because the subsequent breaks also have their own names. A-68B broke off early in the main iceberg's existence. This new part will certainly be called A-68C. Was there any indication that this particular corner would slip out? Not that I saw him. I monitored progress, but mostly it was the wear of small chips everywhere, "said Professor Luckman.
Get lost in the water
When it was replaced in 2017, the A-68 had an area of approximately 6,000 km2. Its average thickness was approximately 190 meters.
For months it seemed to anchor on the ocean floor. It didn't move very far. But it finally turned and accelerated as it moved north. Last summer, the giant freed itself from the persistent sea ice that clogged the Weddell Sea. Its structure is now under more stress and more divisions are expected.
The largest iceberg in the world fragmented. It is a path of no return. But the individual blocks of ice could remain throughout this decade before they disappear … along with his memory.