The world’s largest iceberg begins to die in Antarctica

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The world’s largest iceberg begins to die in Antarctica

A-68, the world’s biggest iceberg, just got a bit smaller. As per the latest reports, the iceberg began to collapse, and just shed a massive chunk of ice, which measured 67.5 mi. i.e., around 157 sqkm. This was revealed in a new footage that was taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite. The massive shuck of ice then drifted into the warm waters north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

With a massive chunk shedding off from the A-68, the size of the glacier has visibly decreased. Taking this into context, scientists are of the view that this might be the beginning of the end of the glacier. It is assumed that the world’s largest iceberg might gradually begin to split into smaller pieces.

Although this is the second major calving event that A-68 has witnessed since it broke free of the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017, the latest event might represent that this is the beginning of the end for the iceberg, as per glaciologist Adrian Luckman. He has been following the progress of the iceberg over the past three years, and has stated that the final breakup has started; however, the destruction of ensuing fragments might take years.

The world’s largest iceberg begins to die in Antarctica

Despite A-68 boasts of being enormous, it is remarkably thin. Referring to this, Luckman added that the aspect ratio of A-68 is more like a credit card than a typically imagined iceberg. He maintained that it amazes him as to how something so fragile and thin managed to survive so long on the open sea.

As regarding the A-68’s name, it comes from a classification system that divides the Antarctic into quadrants. Since the iceberg broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea, it got an ‘A’ designation, whereas 68 was the latest number in the series of large calvings in that sector.

Also, A-68 being remarkably thin, it is more vulnerable to increasingly warm temperatures and strong currents in the north of Antarctica. Therefore, further calvings are inevitable, Luckman said, following which, A-68 will no longer exist. He also added, the berg will, however, likely continue to live on for many years through the constituent chunks that will form off its edges; many will be large enough to earn their own names. This will also includes the chunk that recently broke off.

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