On July 12, 2017, one of the largest icebergs ever seen broke off Antarctica. Almost three years have passed since then and the European Space Agency (ESA) has followed in its footsteps to see how it is evolving. The huge ice mass of almost 6,000 km2 (the size of La Rioja or the Balearic Islands to put it in context), he has traveled the ocean over a distance of over 1000 kilometers.


The A-68, which is the name this iceberg receives, rolled out on July 12, 2017, although that was a long overdue outcome. Scientists saw the mass crack on the Larsen C Ice Shelf for a long time until it finally broke off. The result is one of the largest icebergs ever. Of course, it is surprisingly good at only a few hundred meters deep.

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Sail in the Southern Ocean

ESA photographed and positioned its position using satellite images such as those of the Copernicus Sentinel-1. It was predicted that with entering warmer areas and its movement and contact with liquid water, it would break more quickly, especially due to its thinness. It wasn’t like that, surprisingly, it has remained almost intact with only a few secondments during these three years.


Iceberg A-68

According to data from ESA, the iceberg A-68 he spent almost the first two years near the ice shelf from which he detached himself. This is because another mass of ice kept it “locked” during this time. It lost a small piece which came off and was later renamed A-68A and small piece A-68B. These names are not random, they are based on how Antarctica is segmented by its longitudes and latitudes.

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The last year of the A-68A was more interesting, however. Towards the beginning of 2019, as he reached open water, he began a journey about 1000 miles from the ocean. Along the way he lost another part called the A-68C.


Iceberg A-68

A-68A se more and more the South Pole navigate the Southern Ocean. This means going deeper and deeper into waters of higher temperatures, which will gradually fragment and melt. The time it will take to disappear, however, is unknown. For now, it is important to follow it closely due to the consequences it can have if it interferes with sea routes.

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Source : Engadget