Iceberg A-68 calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017. With a surface area of 5,800 square kilometres, twice the size of Luxembourg, larger than Delaware and weighing one trillion tonnes, it is one of the largest recorded icebergs, the largest being B-15 which measured 11,000 square kilometres before breaking up. The calving of A-68 reduced the overall size of the Larsen C shelf by 12 percent.
The name "A-68" was assigned by the US National Ice Center.
History and recent developments
A-68 was part of Larsen C, a section of the Larsen Ice Shelf. The scientific community is divided whether the calving is the result of climate change, or merely a natural occurrence. Scientists found the crack beginning to form in November 2016, and others suggested that it might have broken off as early as a decade ago. According to scientists observing the iceberg's path, A-68 "didn't just break through in one clean shot, [but] it formed a lace-network of cracks first."
Scientists are looking into the possibility of the ice shelf collapsing as a result of the split with A-68, or whether the iceberg was the "cork" for Larsen C that allows ice to flow more freely into the sea, thereby contributing to rising sea levels.
Since November 2017, satellite images show A-68 is slowly drifting northward, with a widening gap to the main shelf. The gap was approximately five kilometers wide and contained a thin layer of loose, floating ice and a cluster of over 11 'smaller' bergs, one much larger than the rest.
In July 2018 A-68 started to drift northwards.
On December 9th 2019 MS Expedition was the first ship to sight A-68.
Radar imagery from ESA's Sentinel-1B taken on 12 July 2017, showing the complete break
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- Media related to Iceberg A-68 at Wikimedia Commons