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The movement of giant Iceberg A-68 seen from space

The movement of giant Iceberg A-68 seen from space

The colossus iceberg that broke away from Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf on July 12, 2017, is found three years later in the open waters of the South Atlantic, near the South Orkney Islands, about 1,050 km from its place. of birth. In its journey it lost some pieces of ice, but it remains almost the same size. You are now in rougher water and something else may break.

When the A-68 iceber began its journey, it was roughly twice the size of Luxembourg and one of the largest on record, with its detachment changing the contour of the Antarctic Peninsula forever. Despite its size, it is narrow, only about 200 meters thick.

The European Space Agency, which is closely monitoring A-68, released an image in the southern Atlantic Ocean, taken on July 5, almost three years after its separation from the Antarctic Larsen C.

In the last three years, several satellite missions have tracked this iceberg while it floated in the Southern Ocean, such as the Copernicus Sentinel-1. These missions were able to account for the route of the A-68 and show how, during the first two years, it remained close to its mother ice cap, impeded by sea ice.

This iceberg was changing during its trajectory. She first lost a chunk of ice, almost immediately after being farrowed, resulting in her being renamed A-68A, and her offspring becoming A-68B. More recently, in April 2020, A-68A lost another part: A-68C.

In an unromantic way, Antarctic icebergs are named after the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally seen, then a sequential number, and then, if the iceberg breaks, a sequential letter.

The map shows the different positions of A-68A during its three-year journey. The map not only highlights how long it stayed near the Larsen C ice sheet, but also how, over the last year, its rate of drift has increased considerably.

The map also includes historical iceberg tracks, based on data from various satellites, including ESA's ERS-1 and ERS-2, and shows that A-68A is following this well-traveled path.

The widest view image from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission shows the position of A-68A in February 2020.


To observe changes in its size and position in the ocean, the spacecraft continues to send images despite the darkness due to thewinter weather in the zone.

Video: This Enormous Ice Shelf Has Broken Up And Its Revealed A Mysterious Primeval Ecosystem (October 2020).