A68, an iceberg covering an area of nearly 6 000 sq km when it broke away from Antarctica in 2017, is virtually gone, broken into countless pieces that the US National Ice Center says are no longer worth tracking. 

What is Happening?

Adrian Luckman from Swansea University, told BBC News, “It’s amazing that A68 lasted as long as it did. If you think about the thickness ratio – it’s like four pieces of A4 paper stacked up on top of one another. So this thing is incredibly flexible and fragile as it moved around the ocean. It lasted for years like that. But it eventually broke into four-to-five pieces and then those broke up as well.”

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Lessons Learnt from A68

Christopher Shuman from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Nasa-Goddard, says, “The one thing that is probably worth mentioning as a scientific result was how much was learned about the fracture toughness of the suture zones where inland glaciers joined together to form the floating shelf ice. Because we had new sensors seeing the rift evolution more frequently, I’m sure useful insights were gleaned that could not have been ‘seen’ in the decade before. This is a real testament to the investments being made in Earth observation.”

Featured image by: Flickr